After paying a visit to The Golden Temple, we went to explore the other parts of the city. As we were traveling with our parents, we decided to go easy and cover only 2 attractions. The first spot was Jallianwalan Bagh which was located in the close vicinity of the temple. I was quite excited to discover this place as I had just heard about it in the history books so far.
The fateful event of Jallianwala Bagh massacre left me jittery every time I saw it on TV or read about it. It has been registered as one of the saddest days in Indian History. Many sinless people who had gathered here for the Holy festival of Baisakhi were killed brutally by blind firing on the orders of Gen. Dyer.
We could see many structures which reminded us of that fateful day. Two major ones were the bullet marks on the walls and a deep well in which many innocent people (that included women and kids too) jumped to save themselves from the onslaught of the brutal attack. A lot of dead bodies were retracted from it after the firing subsided. This place reminded us of the struggles and sacrifices of our heroes, our brave hearts, our freedom fighters to build an independent India.
We could actually feel the vacuum, an eerie silence, the atrocities that happened and a feeling of extreme sadness and gloominess.
We left the place with mixed emotions and headed towards the market. The crowded and vibrant lanes were packed with food stalls, apparels, jewelry, handloom, footwear, etc. As it is famous for its phulkari embroidery, I bought one dupatta (scarf) for myself. We also bought Amritsari papad (crisps) and some other local foods before indulging in the popular chaat and kulcha of the city. Tempting was the word!
After a quick tour of the market, we left for the Wahah Border to witness the Beating Retreat Ceremony. Wagah is the crossing point between the two countries India and Pakistan. It is basically the Indian check post on the border. Beating Retreat is a daily practice that the security forces of both the Nations perform together. It is a flag-lowering ceremony held every day before the sun sets in. All of us were highly enthusiastic to see the ceremony live for the first time.
And soon it started with josh high on both the ends of the gate. The vibes were amazing. We were thrilled to see the coordination and perfection of our BSF Jawans and Pakistan Rangers. Every move, every turn was adequately planned. The soldiers were marching towards the border gate which was thrown open once they reached there. The drill was characterized by well-trained moves with legs raised high as much as possible in a particular angle.
Such elaborated movements, such perfection, such flawless performance, and such aura. Everything was simply mind-blowing. The citizens of both countries were boosting for their respective countries.
At the Sun Set, the gates of both the countries were opened and the flags of both the countries were lowered down simultaneously. It was so very well organized and finally ended up with a handshake between the soldiers of India and Pakistan. They saluted each other, folded the flags and closed the gates again to end the ceremony. It was done very aesthetically.
Honestly, I got the feeling of sitting in a cricket stadium and supporting our respective teams. The feeling of patriotism was in the air. People were cheering aloud “Vande Matram”, “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”, singing patriotic songs throughout the drill. The energy was infectious. After the ceremony, we met a few BSF Jawans and thanked them for guarding us. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I will always cherish those few minutes with our Jawans.
Finally, we bid goodbye to the place and the city with an emotional heart.
The saddest part and the most heartbreaking moment was to see the flags lying on the ground, moments after the parade. The same people who were cheering for the country a few minutes back threw the flags ruthlessly and left. And I asked myself, “Ye kaisi patriotism?”