- PM Modi had opened the renovated Jallianwala Bagh complex on Saturday
- Many accused the Centre of destroying history in the name of renovation
- Historian S Irfan Habib called it “corporatisation of monuments”
The renovation of Jallianwala Bagh, where more than 1,000 people died 102 years ago, creating one of the darkest chapters of Indian history — has unleashed a wave of outrage and criticism against the government on social media. Most of the criticism has been directed at the hi-tech galleries that have replaced the stark, unadorned passage through which General Dyer had led his men and ordered them to open fire on the thousands of men and women holding a peaceful protest on the day of Baisakhi.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had opened the renovated complex on Saturday, saying it is the country’s duty to protect its history.
Many people on social media have accused the government of destroying history in the name of renovation. Others alleged that politicians rarely have a feel for history.
“This is corporatisation of monuments, where they end up as modern structures, losing the heritage value. Look after them without meddling with the flavours of the period these memorials represent,” tweeted historian S Irfan Habib.
The sharpest criticism so far came from CPM’s Sitaram Yechury, who said, “Only those who stayed away from the epic freedom struggle can scandalise thus”.
Insulting our martyrs.
Jallianwala Bagh massacre of Hindus Muslims Sikhs who gathered together for Baisakhi galvanised our freedom struggle.
Every brick here permeated the horror of British rule.
Only those who stayed away from the epic freedom struggle can scandalise thus. https://t.co/KvYbl840qE
— Sitaram Yechury (@SitaramYechury) August 30, 2021
The Congress too slammed the government citing the history of the right wing in India.
What the hell is wrong with this man? What is so celebratory about the Jallianwala Bagh massacre that you need a light and sound show there for heavens sake? But I mean how can we expect those who were colluding with the British to understand the horrors of this day. https://t.co/wtZo24yzFv
— Hasiba | حسيبة (@HasibaAmin) August 30, 2021
“Devastated to hear that Jallianwala Bagh, site of the Amritsar Massacre of 1919, has been revamped — which means that the last traces of the event have effectively been erased. This is what I wrote of the memorial in my book, describing a space that has now itself become history,” tweeted historian Kim A. Wagner.
While inaugurating the renovated complex on Saturday, PM Modi said horrors like the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and the Partition speak of the sacrifices made for India’s freedom and should not be forgotten.