Hundred years is a long time in a nation’s history. Regimes take shape and fall. Memories, however deep etched in the psyche, start to fade away – something that’s happening to the Crawling Street of Amritsar.
The 180-metre stretch of narrow road lies forgotten today with even some people living on its periphery not knowing about the lane, or how it got its name, or how it shaped history of Punjab and India.
Kesar Da Dhaba, one of the most famous food joints in Amritsar, sees hundreds of locals tourists visiting it every day. Few metres from this Dhaba is an old well, known as Korian Wala Khu (whipping well). The well marked the starting point of the Crawling Street.
The well and street got their names from the punishment that the British handed over to the locals, who failed to follow their orders.
On April 10, 1919 Marcella Sherwood, a missionary, was cycling down the street when she was allegedly attacked. Some locals intervened and saved her.
Three days later, on April 13, 1919, Brigadier General Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to fire at a crowd of more than 20,000 people who had gathered at Jallianwala Bagh on Baisakhi day. The exits were blocked and the firing continued for about 10 minutes. As bullets rained, many jumped into a well, others were crushed in a stampede that ensued. The officials later put the death toll at 379.