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ChatChat - Claudia Cragg


Jul 4, 2019

On April 13, 1919, a column of British troops marched into the Jallianwala Bagh, a public garden in Amritsar, a city in Punjab, where more than 15,000 Indians had gathered for a peaceful protest against the increasingly restrictive policies of the British government, and in particular the deportation of two followers of Gandhi. At the orders of Brig. Gen. Reginald Dyer, the soldiers began firing into the crowd without warning. When screaming men, women and children rushed toward the exits, Dyer ordered his troops to aim at them. Many who were attempting to climb over the high perimeter wall were gunned down, their bloodied bodies falling in heaps. The firing went on for 10 minutes, killing an estimated 500 to 600 people and wounding many more.

While Dyer was the one to order the killings, another man was also responsible for the massacre: Michael O’Dwyer, the lieutenant governor of Punjab, who justified the carnage and defended Dyer’s actions. Anita Anand’s “The Patient Assassin” is the story of Udham Singh, an Indian who sought to avenge the murders of his fellow countrymen by shooting O’Dwyer to death in London in March 1940. In recounting the lives of these three main characters — Singh, O’Dwyer and Dyer — Anand, a British-Indian biographer and broadcast journalist, provides a revealing look at the brutality and oppression of British rule, and how it seeded the desire for retribution in the hearts of so many Indians. 

After training as a journalist, British born and raised Anand became European Head of News and Current Affairs for Zee TV, and one of the youngest TV news editors in Britain at the age of 25. She presented the talk show The Big Debate and was political correspondent for Zee TV presenting the Raj Britannia series – 31 documentaries chronicling the political aspirations of the Asian community in the most marginal constituencies in 1997. 

After Zee, Anand joined the BBC in various roles then in June 2012, she took over presenting BBC Radio 4's Any Answers the Saturday afternoon current affairs phone-in programme between 2:00 and 2:30 pm UK time from Jonathan Dimbleby 

Interestingly, Anand has also appeared in and won the 2017/2018 UK Celebrity Master Mind (4/10) beating singer Rachel Stevens, actor Asim Chaudhry and comedian Andy Zaltzman. She also appeared on the 2018/2019 Christmas University Challenge representing King's College London as captain alongside Angela SainiZoe Laughlin, and Anne Dudley