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    The photo albums  UPDATE: THIS SOLD FOR 1,900 AT HAMMER

    One of the most shameful events in recent Indian history – the Amritsar Massacre of 1919 – is recalled in a photographic archive at Fonsie Mealy’s sale of rare books and manuscripts in Dublin on December 4.  Lot 449 is three large albums from the Hon. Donough O’Brien, heir to the 15th Baron Inchiquin of Dromoland Castle in Co. Clare.  He was Lord Chelmsford’s ADC and the albums contain high quality photographs from Chelmsford’s term as Viceroy of India from 1916-1921.

    Unpopular with Europeans in India for being too radical and with Indians for being too conservative Chelmsford’s greatest failure was the handling of disturbances in the Punjab. His condemnation of General Reginald Dyer’s massacre of peaceful protestors at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar – a massacre depicted in the multi Academy Award winning film Gandhi – was overshadowed by the praise heaped on Dyer back in Britain.  Dyer’s troops entered Jallianwalla Bagh, a public garden walled on all sides with five entrances, and opened fire on a crowd for ten minutes. Official British Indian sources counted 379 dead and about 1,100 wounded. Indians reckoned 1,000 dead. The brutality stunned the entire nation, prompted Rabindranath Tagore to refuse a knighthood on the grounds that such mass murderers were not worthy of giving any title to anyone,  and is seen as a decisive step towards the end of British rule in India. The albums are estimated at 600-800.

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