Preordered this book on Amazon, and there were no hassles with the delivery. So thumbs up to Amazon.
The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919, to this date, has been about myth-making and numbers. Was it representative of systematic British colonial brutality and inhumanity? Or was it a psychopathic act of one 'bad apple'? Did 379 people die, as official British documents had claimed at the time? Or was the toll much greater, including scores of women and children who jumped into the solitary well inside the park? What, indeed, was the Bagh like at the time of the tragedy? All these questions, and more, have been answered in full detail, in all their complexity, in this wonderful new book. Dr. Kim Wagner has handled this rather emotive subject with the professional maturity of an academic and the sensitivity of a virtuoso artist. The book firms up the theory that colonial memories of the 'Mutiny' of 1857 had shaped the attitude of British colonial officials towards Indians in general. Any semblance of unrest or mass protest thereafter - peaceful or not - would evoke the 'Mutiny' in the minds of the colonial officials, and would draw an 'exemplary' response in racialised violence. It is in this context of colonial paranoia that the story of Jallianwala Bagh needs to be understood. It must also be understood that violence was not a one-sided affair. Pent-up emotions of the regularly oppressed and humiliated Indians would intermittently seek outlets through disorganized mob violence against white people. Three days prior to the mass killing by Dyer and his troops, at least 5 innocent Europeans had been brutalized and killed by an Indian mob which had originally gathered to protest the preemptive arrest of Gandhian leaders Kitchlew and Satyapal under Emergency laws, as well as the Rowlatt Bill. Racialized violence begot racialized violence. Dr. Wagner lays this all out before us in all deserving detail, without ever missing the bigger picture. Should India demand a formal apology from Britain for Jallianwala Bagh in 2019? Dr. Wagner has an enlightened opinion. A must-read.