The Queen Is Dead Long Live The King; And Tharoor’s Grumbling
There are many props that keep the British Monarchy going, alive, and kicking. The Queen of Great Britain and Colonies and Commonwealth (including India) and Anglo-Saxon countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand passed away after first meeting Boris Johnson, then Lizz Truss, one after the other. Maybe it was just a coincidence. One was thrashing every custom in England, and the new one has started thrashing Britain without Russia having to invade.
Nevertheless, the Ex Queen’s son, Charles has taken over as King and become King Charles III. He will probably dream of steering the ship back on course. Although British Monarchs are sovereigns only in name. They sign documents and cut ribbons, wear tiaras, put on fancy clothes, and go around waving in costume dramas for the masses. Power actually exists in Downing Street and in theory, in Parliament.
During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II successfully managed to gracefully lose or give away (depending on interpretation of history) almost the entire Empire inherited by her. This greatly reduced her workload of ‘babysitting’ little Maharajahs and Chiefs around the world. After that she only had to do a few ceremonies in her palace handing out knighthoods to people who did some good work and some to those who handed some money to her politicians for things like wallpapers or campaign funds. Rise Sir Money a Lot or Rise Sir Loyal Civil Servant or Sir ‘Mars seen through looking glass scientists’. All good people for the realm.
Some bits of the Empire that once spawned half the world and where the Sun never set, are still left in the net. These colonies feel a bit suffocated and want to leave as they feel all those ceremonial days dressing up, going to the airport getting the British Monarch and staging a ‘rumba rumba’ dance is getting tedious. There are more important things to do in life such as responding to Twitter, Tiktok and such things. So they want to cut the knot.
Even the Anglo Saxons in Anglo Saxon countries like Australia and Canada are feeling they have psychologically grown up and don’t need a ceremonial Daddy to look after them. So there are rumblings of becoming republics. Moreover they are becoming a minority in the occupied lands anyway.
Which means King Charles III will have quite a bit of signing to do and hand out royal charters certifying ‘This country has now grown up and can freely determine its own course in life’. That will leave Scotland, Wales, Gibraltar, Falklands and the little treasure Islands where all the world’s invisible money is stashed away, still part of the Empire or King’s apparent rule.
Will he pack up the Monarchy after that? Will the English get bored with monarchy? These are questions perpetually cropping up in late night talk-shows. For the rest of the world, British Monarchy is becoming a theatrical oddity or an irrelevancy, a ruler without power. Even many British people are less interested in the pomp etc as their own lives get difficult with the crashing economy and rising energy prices and a Monarchy that won’t raise a finger to help them. Its not like old days when Monarchs looked after the subjects.
On the horizon however are other prospective monarchies. Will Xi eventually crown himself as the Emperor (Huang di) of the Xi Dynasty in China? What about Modiji, Rao Sahib of Maha Kutch?
Congress And The Coconut Tree
Talking of dynasties, it seems the Nehru dynasty is finally on its way out. The minions or in polite circles called Congress Netas, have finally rebelled and are calling for a Gandhi-Mukt Congress. Although they had no part in the dynasty’s fall. One of the meek who has found courage is Shashi Tharoor. He has made an industry in blaming the British, for everything that India has not been able to do right.
Luckily Tharoor hasn’t come across any Sikhs or other critical thinkers in his verbose delirious lectures given at Oxbridge or to Indian Press. His big claim is that India had 25% world GDP before British entered and was a beggar country when they left. A sharp wit in the audience would have asked, ‘If you were that clever to have amassed 25% world GDP, why were you so stupid not to have protected it?’ Doh. But there is a select audience.
Shashi hasn’t quite grasped that without the British there would be no ‘my India’ as he calls it. The party he wants to become president of would not be in existence without the British. After all they set it up, made its constitution and brought in the first Brown Sahibs. They encouraged them to attack them (the British) in lectures etc and campaigns. They taught them to ask for freedom and groomed them to take over a structure constructed by them (British) to be able to trade with them and bring some trained personnel to run the British economy, hospitals, buses etc.
Shashi went on to become Under Secretary at UN. His expertise in human rights was really a championing of British, French and American value systems. The only authentic Indianness he and other Congress Netas bring in is kurta-pyjama outfit.
After the BJP overturned and crushed the European secularism fetish in Indian politics, Congress leaders like Rahul did Mandir yatras to be seen as Hindu and Shashi wrote a book ‘Why he is proud to be a Hindu’. Even after reading the book, one does not get a contextual understanding what he means by a Hindu. Without the British he wouldn’t be a Hindu as it were they who finally consolidated the identity in legal terminology without bothering to define it.
Shashi is still fighting the independence campaign as his party was programmed to do by Allen Octavian Hume, the retired British civil servant who set up the Congress Party in 1885 along with some other British colleagues from the establishment and after seeking the approval of the Viceroy! Indians were being taught democracy, parliamentary system and to behave like gentlemen Brown Sahibs and under the Viceroy’s watchful eye, educated on how to ask for ‘freedom’.
Shashi has put his head forward with a grovelling statement that Gandhis are in the DNA of Congress. Of course they are. Old man Nehru was the foremost of Indian coconuts who even wrote a book about his adopted country, ‘Discovery of India’. Invaders, explorers and tourists ‘discover’ a country. Does a native person discover his own country? The title of the book said it all about the Nehru dynasty and Congress, a party and entity alien in its own land.
Always feasting on crumbs and then grumbling like a moaning teenager, Shashi has inherited an India stitched together by the British, a party set up by the British, a religion legalised by the British, a democracy inherited from the British, an intellectual framework learnt from the British and now he wants to take over the Presidency of Congress, made available by courtesy of Modi’s BJP.
It was Modi who squeezed the Gandhis out of Congress like the gel from a toothpaste tube. Shashi wants to climb in and refill it with the same sticky paste. But as everyone knows, one cannot really refill a toothpaste tube. Modi has emptied it of any meaningful use in an India looking for originality and move on from colonialism.
It would be better if the British Foreign Office does the decent thing and bring the rump of the coconut tree (Congress Party) and its final coterie of Brown Sahibs in a single British Airways flight home to London and let then wander in Hyde Park corner moaning and groaning about the Raj. Congress Mukt Bharat, put Congress in the British Library or Museum.