Hundred years on, the memory of a massacre lingers

Hundred years on, the memory of a massacre lingers

The Jallianwala Bagh Exhibition closes on November 28 in Wellington
Sunita Kaur Musa
Wellington, November 27, 2019

India’s High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi with Chief Government Whip Michael Wood and Race Relations Commissioner Feng Moon

Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Photo Exhibition, curated by the Partition Museum of Amritsar, India was officially launched on November 21, 2019 by Chief Government Whip Michael Wood and Indian High Commissioner Muktesh Pardeshi.

Organised by Ekta New Zealand, the Exhibition is being held at Saint Peters Church located at 211 Willis Street.

The inaugural ceremony was attended by Members of Parliament, diplomats, Race Relations Commissioner Meng Foon and community and faith leaders.  

The launch function began with a Karakia in the Church garden, led by Rev Canon Donald Rangi. The Jallianwala Bagh story was told through videos, Nanak Singh’s poem ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ and a cultural performance.

Ganeev Kaur Dhillon, Sunita Musa, Michael Wood and Ekta Volunteer Geetha Grewal

Lessons of the tragedy

Professor Shekhar Bandyopadhyay of Wellington University highlighted the real learning from the tragic episode, saying that rightful protest by public cannot be put down by state oppression. He said that General Reginald Dyer’s use of brute force to break the morale of the people resulted in the start of the crumbling of the mighty British Empire.

Mr Pardeshi spoke about Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha Movement which picked-up steam after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. 

“I have had the honour of being involved in the three important events since I took charge as India’s High Commissioner- the 150th Gandhi Jayanti, the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and now the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Photo Exhibition,” he said.

Mr Wood showed a photograph of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church prostrating at the Memorial of the Jallianwala Bagh. An Anglican himself, Mr Wood said that he identified completely with the regret expressed by the Archbishop.

All guests described the Exhibition as ‘very informative,’ the launch ‘very moving’ and the Programme ‘professionally delivered.’

Muktesh Pardeshi, Charanjit Singh, Dr Shekhar Bandyopadhyay and Ganeev Kaur Dhillon

Second to Wellington

Exhibition Curator Ganeev Dhillon, who had come from Amritsar, said, “It is very encouraging to see the level of interest that people in Wellington have shown on this tragedy. We are thankful to Ekta New Zealand for enabling us to bring the Partition Museum to Wellington,” he said.

The community has the responsibility towards the 400 or so people who were killed on that Vaisakhi Day in 1919.

We should not forget these martyrs nor their sacrifices. We had a Remembrance Ceremony on April 12, 2019 and have now brought this Photo Exhibition.

Wellington is the second city in the world to host this exhibition outside India.

The exhibition will be open from 10 am to 7 pm tomorrow (November 28, 2019), the final day. Entry is open to all and free to the Garden Room behind Saint Peters Church, accessible also from Ghuznee Street.

Sunita Kaur Musa and Charanjit Singh of Ekta are the Co-Chair of the Jallianwala Bagh Exhibition Project.
(Pictures Supplied)

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