Archbishop of Canterbury (so-called) Rev. Justin Welby visited Bharata in Sep. 2019, went straight to Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar, prostrated before the memorial with a sense of ‘deep regret’ albeit brazenly bereft of a sincere, penitent apology. Why should he? Christian Church of England had cheered and celebrated the brutal genocide in 1919 and Justin Welby could not disown the legacy obsessed with White-Man’s Supremacy Syndrome.
Missionary journal Harvest Field had proudly mentioned in 1919 after the bloodbath, “Indian Christians were not found wanting in loyalty to the British Government” during the countrywide uprising against Rowlatt Act.
Marcella Sherwood of the Church Of England Zenana Missionary Society and (so-called) Rev. Canon Guilford of Church Missionary Society eulogised the monstrous brutality as it was “justified by its results” !!
Christian Missionary Review described Reginald O’ Dyer as a “brave” man whose action was the “only means of saving a life.”
Another missionary publication The Young Men Of India lauded Lt. Governor of Panjab Michael O’ Dwyer being “the strongest and best ruler the country has had in modern times” for ordering Bharatiyas to crawl before white women. Mercifully, this ‘strongest and best ruler of modern times’ was rightly killed by the great martyr Udham Singh as he had authorised the mass murder at Jallianwala Bagh.
In 1920, Archbishop of Canterbury declared the mass-murderer Reginald O’ Dyer as a “brave, public-spirited, patriotic soldier”. When a motion to condemn Dyer’s action was moved in British Parliament, the then Archbishop had the gall to say, “We have undertaken for many years past, in the sight of God and man, to promote the intellectual emancipation of the Indian peoples. We are changing…their habits of thought, their religious ideals and moral level. We have striven to govern, and are striving to govern, as a Christian nation should; and by a Christian nation I mean apart altogether from the strictly religious aspect of the matter, because we are actuated by the largest, soundest, and deepest principles of Christian civilisation, Christian justice, Christian liberty, Christian encouragement of freedom and of self-control. Because I believe that the passing of this Resolution by Parliament, and the circulation of it in India and England, would be taken as setting back these principles in their progress, I ask your Lordships not to vote for it.”
There was a general perception in Britain, Dyer was a hero ‘who saved the rule of British law in India.’
When Dyer reported to his superior, he was “confronted by a revolutionary army”, Maj. General William Beynon responded telegraphically, “Your action correct and Lieutenant Governor approves.” Defenceless, unarmed Baisakhi revellers appeared ‘revolutionary army’ to this British brute.
Britain attempted their best to hush up the extreme barbarity, then declared it a ‘grave error’. British House Of Commons condemned him but House Of Lords exonerated him with a handsome pension !! And to rub chilly in wounds, Nobel Laureate Rudyard Kipling admired him in his poem as ‘The Man Who Saved India’ and declared pompously, “he did his duty as he saw it.” !! Then British collected a huge amount of Sterling Pounds 26,317 through public donations that they gifted him with a ‘Sword Of Honour’ in public. And families of victims were compensated at the rate of Sterling Pound 37 per head of the dead and nothing for the injured !! Dyer was neither court-martialed nor censured albeit denied promotion. He retired and died unrepentant in 1927.
Queen Elizabeth had the audacity not to comment during her visits in 1961 and 1983 to the country. It was only when demand for her apology began raising its head all over the country, she pontificated rather tangentially on Oct. 13, 1997, during her visit in State Banquet, “It is no secret that there have been some difficult episodes in our past – Jallianwala Bagh, which I shall visit tomorrow, is a distressing example. But history cannot be rewritten, however much we might sometimes wish otherwise. It has its moments of sadness, as well as gladness. We must learn from the sadness and build on the gladness.” Quite a shallow tribute devoid of blanket apology to say the least notwithstanding her formal visit to the site of the massacre. Prime Minister IK Gujral was too besotted with her insipid royal gestures and justified no apology on the ground she was not even born then !! He abjectly ignored the principle of continuity of governance while displaying his slavish mindset before the nation. There were protests all over Amritsar against the visit with protesters chanting, “Queen, go back” while the royal couple merely signed visitor’s book without observing the courtesy of leaving behind a message. Prince Philip arrogantly commented later on the Plaque stating, “This place is saturated with the blood of about two thousand Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims who were martyred in a non-violent struggle” after returning to England, “That’s a bit exaggerated” as he had relied on the version submitted to him by Dyer’s son !! The senile, old, doddering Prince Philip drew widespread condemnation all over the country for being so brazen and audacious. Probably the brutal carnage of the size of Jallianwala Bagh wasn’t enough to agitate Imperial conscience. Government of Bharata must not allow any more royal visits on Bharatiya soil until and unless they tender an unqualified, categorical apology.
London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan appealed to the British Government on Dec. 6, 2017 to apologise while on his visit to the Memorial.
British Prime Minister Theresa May dubbed it a “shameful scar” on April 12, 2019, during discussions in House Of Lords echoing the statement of her predecessor David Cameron issued in 2013 again, entirely bereft of a sincere apology.
The irony of the monumental tragedy was that those were Bharatiya troops slaying natives for a British boss for no rhyme or reason !! It occurred to none of them to slightly divert barrel of his gun towards Dyer to shoot him instantly. (When we refuse to learn the right lessons from history, the same history re-visits with a much louder bang and tremors. In this case, too, we declined to learn right lessons and the same history re-visited us decades later when IPKF Forces were engaged in slaughtering Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka for their President Jayawardene on their land !!)
While the entire nation was agitated, RN Tagore returned the Knighthood, MK Gandhi turned resolutely faithful to the idea of complete freedom by the dint of virtues of Truth and Ahimsa !!
In 1928, Conservative British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin calmly witnessed his Home Minister Sir William Hicks reading out the statement in Parliament, ‘…we conquered India as an outlet for the goods of Britain. We conquered India by the sword, and by the sword, we shall hold it. I am not such a hypocrite as to say we hold India for the Indians. We went with a yardstick in one hand and a sword in the other, and with the latter, we continue to hold them helpless while we force the former down their throats.’ So naïve of all of us who have been insisting on a royal British apology hitherto !! They still chant often, ‘Long live the Crown’ !!
There are so many in Bharata who would sadistically love to see Britain going down the drain forever and entire British ‘White’ race being wiped out for the better of humankind. Unfortunately, they are not entirely wrong.