zeroPlus Theatre’s new production is now in development – continuing where it left off at end of All Our Heroes, exploring the theme of British Empire in particular India’s relationship with Britain during and after WW1.
In April 1919, on the 13th of the month, the day when Sikhs celebrate the most important date in their calendar – Vaisakhi, Colonel Reginald Dyer, the regional commander of British Indian Army, ordered his troops to open fire at about 2500 unarmed civilians gathered peacefully in an enclosed garden park – the Jallianwallah Bagh.
When all the ammunition of 1,650 rounds had been fired, approximately 1000 had died and over 1500 injured, (Indian National Congress figures) amongst whom were children and women, many who jumped into a well. When asked at his tribunal about his actions Dyer replied – “ because they had to be taught a lesson”.
This incident came to be known as the Jallianwallah Bagh Massacre. It stunned and angered Indians, particularly since it came six months after the end of WW1, a war in which quarter of a million young men from the region had gone to fight for Great Britain, from which 74,187 died and 76,000 came back injured.
The tightening of British attitude had came in response to wider protests against reneging of promises of greater autonomy made by British Govt to Indians for their participation in the Great War. The introduction of legislation Rowlat Act – allowed the British Govt to extend the emergency measures of preventive indefinite detention, incarceration without trial and judicial review enacted in the Defense of India Act 1915 during WW1.
After the War is aimed as a dramatic piece of performance /workshop for schools and community enterprise venues to mark 100 years since this controversial grave and tragic episode in British Empire history.
Project progress here