Jallianwala Bagh A Huge Shame: Archbishop of Canterbury
- The Archbishop went on to say that he was speaking as a spiritual and not political leader, and that no one with any human sentiments can read about Jallianwala Bagh and not feel a deep sense of shame and sorrow.
- The Archbishop went on to say that he was speaking as a spiritual and not political leader, and that no one with any human sentiments can read about Jallianwala Bagh and not feel a
On Tuesday morning in Amritsar, speaking to TOI, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, when asked whether he felt satisfied that his trip to India - to Kottayam, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Kolkata and now Amritsar - was a success, he said: "If you ask a batsman who has scored 96 runs, whether he considered his innings a success, he would say, 'Let me answer that after I hit four more runs!' I feel exactly the same way, because one of the most significant aspects of my tour in India is yet to happen. I will visit Jallianwala Bagh this afternoon, where innocents were tragically killed by us (the British)."
The Archbishop went on to say that he was speaking as a spiritual and not political leader, and that no one with any human sentiments can read about Jallianwala Bagh and not feel a deep sense of shame and sorrow.
The Archbishop added, "I wish to express shame and sorrow, for it is recognition of the horrible reality of what we, the British, did there and there were doubtless, believing Christians involved, in the British troops. Imperialism with its absolute power damages the society over which it rules; in fact, it damages everyone. Jallianwala Bagh is a classic example of the huge shame and damage done to our reputation and our history."
Later that afternoon, when the head of the Anglican Church did visit Jallianwala Bagh - where the British army under the command of Gen Dyer on April 13, 1919 opened fire at a crowd of civilians demonstrating for independence - he prostrated himself on the ground before the memorial and expressed deep anguish and shame at the dastardly act committed by the British that led to the death of more than 400 innocent people. The Archbishop reiterated in his speech at the memorial that he was speaking as a spiritual leader who felt ashamed of what the British did in Jallianwala Bagh a century ago.
On another note, expressing his admiration for the way India has continued to be hospitable to all faiths, the Archbishop told TOI that he appreciated the indigenous Christian community for their selfless service and sterling contributions in the field of education.
"I prayed with many Christian communities in India. My experiences here brought home to me the depth of India's history and hospitality to different faiths. One of the most profound, deep, philosophical civilisations, India has received into its life the many faiths that thrive in this country. India's culture and history - except when manipulated - has been one of learning to value that diversity and this is so important," he said.