Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
Renowned Indian poet-lyricist Gulzar said that the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was an event of great vigour and enthusiasm for the Indian independence movement. But, he lamented, the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which fell on April 13, 2019, didn’t receive the attention and respect it deserved.
The Oscar-winning lyricist filmmaker was speaking at the Sharjah International Book Festival (SIBF 2019), where a discussion session was held on the English translation of the Punjabi poem ‘Khooni Vaishakhi’, originally penned by Nanak Singh in Punjabi who was a survivor of Jallianwala Bagh massacre and translated to English by Navdeep Singh Suri, former Ambassador of India to the UAE.
On April 13, 1919, hundreds of people were killed in India when British troops led by Colonel Dyer opened fire on a crowd gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh to celebrate Vaisakhi, a celebration of Sikh and Punjabi tradition, heritage and culture.
Navdeep Singh Suri said that none of his family members had seen the manuscript or printed book of ‘Khooni Vaisakhi,’ which is the heart-touching story of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, which also depicts Hindu-Muslim-Sikh unity which prevailed at that era. When the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was nearing, his mother inspired him to translate and publish the Punjabi poem into English. Suri got a scanned copy of the book from the British Library, Yorkshire Store.
The English translation was released on April 13, 2019, in Abu Dhabi, on the 100th anniversary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. ‘Raktha Vaishakhi’ the Malayalam version of the ‘Khooni Vaishakhi’, was released at the SIBF. The book was published by DC Books, the premier publishing house in India.
Speaking on the occasion, journalist and filmmaker from Pakistan, Amna Ehtesham, said that even after 100 years, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre has remained alive as an unhealed wound and a tragic blow in the minds of people, not only from India and Pakistan but South Asia itself.
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