Jallianwala Bagh massacre commemorated in B.C. calendar

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      Every year, Radical Desi and the People's Voice release a calendar highlighting the struggles of the oppressed and commemorating their heroes from the past.

      This year, there's a twist—rather than being a single page, it features photos to go along with each month of the year.

      In January, for instance, it notes the date that the continuous-journey law was passed (January 8, 1908), the launch of an Indian newspaper in B.C. called Swadesh Sewak (January 10, 1910), and Martin Luther King Day (January 15), to name a few.

      But the big event featured on the cover this year is the 100th centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar, India, on April 13, 1919.

      It occurred during Vaisakhi when General Reginald Dyer ordered British troops to shoot into a huge crowd of unarmed demonstrators, who couldn't escape because they were inside a garden.

      "Asking them to reload their magazines, he personally directed fire at the densest parts of the crowd," wrote Indian historian Ramachandra Guha in Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World 1914–1948. "Some 1650 rounds were fired. Almost 400 people died in the carnage."

      The calendar has been a pet project of Radical Desi cofounder and Georgia Straight contributor Gurpreet Singh since the first one rolled off the presses in 2007 featuring Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh. 

      Since then, the calendar has featured Nobel Prize–winning poet Rabindranath Tagore, the Komagata Maru, and other historically significant figures and events.

      Singh said that this year's calendar is all about connecting the past to the present. So along with historical events, such as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, there are also images of contemporary oppression around the world, including in Palestine, India, Pakistan, and Canada.

      The latter features a photo of Indigenous activists at the Peace Arch border crossing, noting that First Nations people continue to be overrepresented in jails as politicians refuse to acknowledge the effects of colonization on their day-to-day lives.

      "Indigenous people are branded as troublemakers and antidevelopment," Singh declared.

      And he said that the Jallianwala Bagh killings, like what's happening in many parts of the world today, must be seen with the view of how the voices of dissent are being suppressed by violence from the state.

      "Dyer was racist," Singh emphasized. "He believed this was a way to teach these people a lesson."