Insights into Editorial: Jallianwala Bagh massacre: ‘Deep regret’ is simply not good enough

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Insights into Editorial: Jallianwala Bagh massacre: ‘Deep regret’ is simply not good enough


Context:

Government of India has decided to mark the remembrance of 100 years of the historical Jallianwalla Bagh Massacre

When we observe 100 years of the horrific Jallianwala Bagh massacre, India pays tributes to all those martyred on that fateful day.

The massacre took place at Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar during the Baisakhi festival on April 13, 1919, when troops of the British Indian Army under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer opened fire at a crowd of people holding a pro-independence demonstration, leaving several dead and scores injured.

It took Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore to capture the full import of the outrage at Jallianwala Bagh. In his letter of protest renouncing the knighthood conferred on him.

Their valour and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Their memory inspires us to work even harder to build an India they would be proud of.

India will never forget the massacre happened:

MPs had suggested that an apology was owed to the victims and their families as part of efforts to strengthen relations with India.

“India will never forget,” Conservative MP Bob Blackman, who introduced the debate told to the MPs.

Over 80 MPs from across political parties signed a letter, initiated by Labour MP Pat McFadden, calling for an “official apology.”

Others argued that there was a need for the U.K. to raise awareness of the atrocity and the darker aspects of Britain’s colonial legacy in schools, which would help children understand where they came from and where the country was today.

 

Britain expressed deeply regret for the incident:

British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed “regret” in Parliament for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the killings on April 13.

Opening the Prime Minister’s Questions with a reference to the massacre, Ms. May quoted Queen Elizabeth’s remarks, calling the incident a “distressing example” of Britain’s past history with India.

We deeply regret what happened and the suffering caused,” Ms. May said.

 

In Recent Past, Canada Apologised for 1914 Komagata Maru Incident:

While it is still uncertain whether the Britishers would act contrite for the excesses committed by them, Canada apologised for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.

In Komagata Maru incident, hundreds of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim immigrants were denied entry into that country and turned away from the port of Vancouver to return to an uncertain and ultimately violent fate in India.

In May 2016, almost 102 years after Canada turned away over 376 migrants, mostly Sikhs from India, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau formally apologised in Parliament for the “great injustice” that had happened due to discriminatory laws of the time.

 

Trudeau apologised in the House of Commons for the 1914 decision by the then Canadian government to turn away the migrants onboard the ship Komagata Maru after their arrival in Vancouver.

Komagata Maru sailed into Vancouver harbour on May 23, 1914 from Hong Kong, but most of the passengers were eventually turned away on the grounds of the “continuous journey clause” that allowed only travellers on a trip without interruption to land in Canada.

 

Way Forward:

Relations between the U.K. and India today are friendly and constructive. Yet, that does not mean that an apology would not do good.

We cannot turn back or erase the past, but we can take steps to recognise what happened and to respond in a way that befits a modern relationship between two countries which today enjoy normal and positive diplomatic relations.

The need for the world community to come together to promote everlasting peace in all the corners of the globe and ensure that sustainable development of the planet becomes the watchword at all times and at all levels from schools to summits of global leaders.

 

Conclusion:

Jallianwala Bagh was a reminder to each one of us as to how hard won & precious our freedom is.

It was an occasion to shed a silent tear for each of the innocent Indians who lost their lives that Baisakhi day in 1919 and a poignant moment of reflection on colonial cruelty & irrational anger.

The Vice President of India expressed hope that this day would inspires us to strive to create a world without oppression & persecution, a world of friendship, peace & progress, a world where all nations stand united to defeat inhuman forces of terror & violence.

It is a day to reaffirm India’s centuries long commitment to the ideal of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.