British Prime Minister Theresa May has called the Jallianwala Bagh massacre a painful scar on British history and expressed deep regret over it. However, she fell short of rendering a formal apology. Ninety-one Members of Parliament from both the opposition party and from her own party have called for a formal apology. Britain must understand that anything short of a formal apology will fall short of true justice for the victims of this great tragedy and for the people of India.
If Britain does not truly regret for its crimes of the colonial era and the imperialist era then it is going to continue committing those crimes. Let us look at the British record of committing such crimes in India after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. Britain was responsible for the Bengal famine of 1943. The British instead of providing food for the starving people diverted that food for the soldiers fighting the Second World War. This resulted in the deaths of millions of people in Bengal.
Another great tragedy for which Britain has the sole responsibility is the partition of Punjab in 1947. The British were responsible for maintaining law and order during that unfortunate period. However, they completely failed in providing any protection or security to the people. There was a complete breakdown of law and order resulting in total anarchy. More than a million people lost their lives.
Britain has directly or indirectly supported wars of imperialist aggression by America in which millions of people have lost their lives and millions have been uprooted. We can look at the British role in Libya. It shows that even after 100 years after the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy, Britain has not learnt any lessons from its dark role in history and has continued its oppressive policies of the 19th and the 20th century into the 21st century.
It is obvious that Britain is still stuck with its unilateral approach based upon the concept of a unipolar world and feels obligated to support America which is the leader and the biggest proponent of this concept. Britain must realize that the world has changed now and has become multipolar and it is out of line with the contemporary world realities.
One way for Britain to break with its dark past is to sincerely apologize for its past mistakes. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre is more than a mistake it is a blunder. Apologizing for this blunder will not only do justice to the victims but can also be a new beginning for Britain in the new world order, a multipolar world.
Washington State Network for Human Rights