CHANDIGARH: The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Tuesday said he was 'very sorry' and felt a sense of humiliation and shame after visiting the site of the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre in Amritsar on the last leg of his ten-day tour to India. "It is deeply humiliating and provokes a feeling of profound shame for me as a British Christian to visit this place that witnessed such an atrocity over hundred years ago,’’ wrote Welby in the book of condolences which is placed at the Bagh.
"My first response is to pray to my loving heavenly father for healing to those still suffering grief, loss and anger. That prayer to god for healing then compels me to commit to actions that may seek to bridge
divides of culture and religion that we may together root out hatred and seek the common good," he added.
Accompanied by his wife Caroline, Welby had arrived at the holy city on Monday from Kolkata. After visiting the Bagh, he later wrote on his Facebook page, "I have no status to apologise on behalf of the UK, its government or its history. But I am personally very sorry for this terrible atrocity."
Welby further added, "Coming here arouses a sense of profound shame at what happened in this place. It is one of a number of deep stains on British history. The pain and grief that has transcended the generations since must never be dismissed or denied. To say sorry as a Christian is to turn around and take a new direction alongside voicing words of apology. When there is something on the scale and horror of this massacre, and done so many years ago, words can be cheaply bandied around, as if a simple apology would ever be enough."
He wrote, "Learning of what happened, I recognise the sins of my British colonial history, the ideology that too often subjugated and dehumanised other races and cultures. Jesus Christ calls us to turn away from sin and to turn to Him as Lord. We are called to not just repent of old ways but to intentionally live
in a new way that seeks the Kingdom of God here on earth. It is this second part that is truly the challenge. We understand God’s Kingdom to be a place where all humans are enabled to flourish, and all are valued as made in His image."
"Therefore, we have a great responsibility to not just lament this horrific massacre, but most importantly to learn from it in a way that changes our actions. True repentance involves me listening and learning to the voices of Indians, celebrating their cultures, and determining to work for the common good in ways that enable the flourishing of all people. The past must be learned from so nothing like this ever happens again," he adds in his post.