Sunday 14 April 2019 8:36 PM UTC
LONDON April 15: The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919 when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Acting Brig-Gen Reginald Dyer fired rifles into a crowd of Indians, who had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab.
The news of this catastrophe wouldnt have been known to the world if it was not for this British journalist who braved to publish the news. Benjamin Guy Horniman (1873 – 1948) was a British journalist and editor of The Bombay Chronicle, is also particularly notable for his support of Indian independence.
Following the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, Horniman managed to smuggle photographs of the incident and broke the story about the massacre and its aftermath in the Labour Party’s mouthpiece the Daily Herald. The exposé broke through the censorship on the matter and unleashed a wave of revulsion in the British public over the incidents and the Hunter Commission. One of his correspondents, Goverdhan Das, was imprisoned for three years. Horniman himself was arrested for his coverage of the massacre and criticism of the colonial government and deported to London, and the Chronicle closed down (temporarily).
In England he continued his journalistic crusade against the colonial government and authored British Administration and the Amritsar Massacre in 1920. He returned to India a few years later and resumed the editorship of the Chronicle. In 1929 he launched his own newspaper, the Indian National Herald and its Weekly Herald. He later resigned from The Bombay Chronicle to start the Bombay Sentinel, an evening newspaper which he edited from 1933 for 12 years.
He died in 1948. The Horniman Circle Gardens in Mumbai, formerly the Elphinstone Circle, were named in his honour. His memoirs, unfinished at the time of his death, were entitled Fifty Years of Journalism.
In a tribute to this notable journalist, the famous cartoonist Kesava Shankara Pillai, considered to be the father of Indian political cartooning, in his political journal, Shankar’s Weekly, wrote:
“Benjamin Guy Horniman was British by birth, but for about 40 years, he was the Bayard of Indian journalism. . . He was our greatest tradition or banner of freedom and our school of journalism. His epitaph should be ‘England’s greatest and perhaps the only real gift to India’.”
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