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Jallianwala Bagh massacre: When a British newspaper collected '26,000 pounds' for Gen. Dyer

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Morning Post, a conservative British newspaper, raised a hefty sum of "26,000 pounds" for the benefit of -- the man behind the dreadful massacre, according to a recently-released book.

It started with an article, titled "The Man Who Saved India", which was written just days after was removed from his post by the British authorities in July, 1920, according to the book, "Jallianwala Bagh".

"... there are thousands of men and women in England who realise the truth -- that the lives of their fellow-country-men in hung upon the readiness of to act as he acted.

"It is to those men and women that we appeal, to do what is in them to redress the callous and cynical wrong which has been done. Dyer has been broken," reads the article.

The fund, according to Kim Wagner, saw people from all over the British empire and from all walks of life contributing to support Dyer, including "Rudyard Kipling, who gave 10 pounds".

"When the fund eventually closed, more than 26,000 pounds had been raised, which meant that Dyer could retire in comfort and without financial concerns," he added.

Wagner pointed out some pseudonyms used by people who contributed in the fund -- 'One who remembers 1857', 'The of a White Man Slain', 'In gratitude to Gen. Dyer, from an Englishwoman who heard the mob', 'A Widow who remembers reading, when a child, of the horrors of 1857', 'An Old Anglo-Indian'.

The pseudonyms revealed something of the "mindset and politics mobilised by the fund", the said.

Overwhelmed by all the love coming his way, Dyer wrote a letter of thanks that was subsequently published in

"I am proud to think that so many of my fellow-countrymen and women approve of my conduct at Amritsar, and I accept the token of their approval in the spirit in which it is offered," reads the letter.

on Saturday marked the centenary of the massacre, when troops of the British Indian Army, under the command of Dyer, fired indiscriminately at a crowd holding a peaceful meeting on April 13, 1919, leaving hundreds of people dead.

Published by Penguin Viking, the book "Jallianwala Bagh" claims to provide an innovative and nuanced approach to the dramatic events in and unearth untold narratives that shed new light upon the bloody history of the British empire.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, April 13 2019. 20:15 IST