Jallianwala Bagh: UK Sikhs want apology, include in British’s school curriculum
The 2019 edition of the British Sikh Report (BSR) reveals that 78 per cent of the community surveyed want a formal apology from the British state for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre and 85 per cent seek its inclusion in Britain’s school curriculum.
A commemoration event is scheduled on Saturday evening in the parliament complex in Westminster, when leading Indian-origin members of the House of Lords such as Raj Loomba and Meghnad Desai, will speak on the issue and the apology demand, besides members of the Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Commemoration Committee such as Vikramjit Singh Sahney and Manjit Singh GK, who have travelled from India.
The Theresa May government has reiterated the expression of ‘deep regret’ over the massacre, but not an apology as demanded by the opposition Labour and others. The expression was repeated by the British high commissioner Dominic Asquith in Amritsar on Saturday.
Jagdev Singh Virdee, editor of the BSR, said: “There are several major anniversaries this year, and the BSR team thought it was a good time to ask British Sikhs for their views on issues related to these key events”.
“It is interesting to see that more Sikhs want the Jallianwala Bagh massacre to be taught in schools than would want a formal apology from the government”, he added.
Jallianwala Bagh is also the subject of a major exhibition in the Manchester Museum from April 11 to October 2. A collaboration between the University of Manchester and the Partition Museum, the exhibition it titled ‘Jallianwala Bagh 1919: Punjab under seige.’
Based on two years of research and curation by the Partition Museum (supported by the Jallianwala Bagh Centenary Commemoration Committee), the exhibition includes archival and audio-visual material which tells the narrative of the massacre through eyewitness accounts, photographs and official documents.
It also includes collections from the Manchester Museums Galleries Partnership, including Punjabi textiles from the Whitworth.
The exhibition includes artwork of the internationally renowned, contemporary, artists, The Singh Twins.
The artwork comprises three panels; the left provides historical context highlighting the oppression of India under the British Empire and Raj, the centre focuses on the massacre itself and how it divided opinion in India and Britain; and the right panel explores the impact and legacies of Jallianwala, referencing India’s freedom struggle.