BRIG. GEN. DYER ARRIVES,
Five-thirty sharp the clock had struck
Thousands gathered in the Bagh, my friends.
Leaders came to lament the nation’s woes
Taking turns to speak out loud, my friends.
Voiced grievance, hardship, anger, sorrow
Saying, no one listens to us, my friends.
What can we do, what options left?
Can’t see any ray of light, my friends.
Those words forlorn, they barely voiced
Came soldiers thundering down, my friends.
At Dyer’s command, those Gurkha troops
Gathered in a formation tight, my friends.
Under the tyrant’s orders, they opened fire
Straight into innocent hearts, my friends.
And fire and fire and fire they did
Some thousands of bullets were shot, my friends.
Like searing hail they felled our youth
A tempest not seen before, my friends.
Riddled chests and bodies slid to the ground
Each one a target large, my friends.
Haunting cries for help did rend the sky
Smoke rose from smouldering guns, my friends.
Just a sip of water was all they sought
Valiant youth lay dying in the dust, my friends.
That narrow lane to enter the Bagh
Sealed off on Dyer’s command, my friends.
No exit, no escape, no way out was left
Making the Bagh a deathly trap, my friends.
A fortunate few somehow survived
While most died then and there, my friends.
Some ran with bullets ripping their chest
Stumbling to their painful end, my friends.
Others caught the bullet while running away
Dropping lifeless in awkward heaps, my friends.
In minutes, the Bagh so strewn with corpses
None knew just who was who, my friends.
Many of them did look like Sikhs
Amid Hindus and Muslims plenty, my friends.
In the prime of their youth, our bravehearts lay
Gasping for one last breath, my friends.
Long hair lay matted in blood and grime
In slumber deep they sleep, my friends.
Says Nanak Singh, Who knows their state
But God the One and Only, my friends.
Excerpted with permission from Khooni Vaishakhi by Nanak Singh, translated by Navdeep Suri. Published by HarperCollins India