British Monarchy

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.

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Weekly Update: Monarchy Walking Into Sunset? And Hindutva’s Self-Goal

The British Monarch, Her Majesty the Queen, a wonderful person because she never says anything beyond platitudes, almost always smiling, celebrated her 70th year on the British throne cutting ribbons and handing out ribbons, on the throne of the Commonwealth wheeling around the world cutting ribbons and wheezing around a few other countries , such as Canada and Australia, cutting ribbons. The 70-year Jubilee was a four-day affair with every world media showing some, all, or a bit of the four days. Music and hand waving, army march pass and street parties etc were all packed into the extended programme of celebrations. The Royal family glowed in the adulation. Even the baby royals were there to lap it up. Perhaps the leaders of many a country, must have been wondering, ‘Why can’t I have some of that’. Perhaps some will now organise a yearly jamboree of them being in power. Modiji next?

Everyone enjoyed it, except the thousands British who are anti Monarchists and want to turn Britain into a Republic. And those who are indifferent, but sulked in their front rooms as family members wanted to watch Her Majesty, while they wanted to watch football, or anything else, even Peppa Pig. And the failed exodus of thousands who had tried to escape but were returned from airports as flights were cancelled. They had to suffer watching four days of celebrations they were trying to get away from.

Or the many in the world, who remembered on these day the oppressions, atrocities and destructions visited on their communities by British colonialism in the name of the Royal family. For them, the scenes of HMQ and family smiling, while their cultures and nations are just about recovering from the poverty and near extinction, must have been a bit painful. Or as many saw HMQ and family sitting on gilded carriages, diamond studded tiaras and opulence built on treasures taken from their lands. Where are the crown jewels from, or the financial wealth of UK from?

Before colonialism, India reportedly had 25% of world’s wealth alone. In 1947, it was a country begging for food and development funds. That story is the same in many other parts of the world.

Still, as the Brits like reminding, they brought the railways to the countries. In this Jubilee year, countries should be grateful to the Empire and Royals for little mercies, so what if at the end they got poverty in return. But then how Russia got the Trans Siberian Rail, the longest railway, without British imperialism must be the eight wonder of the world.

However, Empires eventually fragment and end. Emperor Romulus Augustus is remembered for losing the mighty Roman Empire. Emperor Bahadur Shah lost the great Mughal dynasty. Both are known as losers. Queen Elizabeth 2nd, took power in 1952. By 2022, she has managed to lose almost the entire British Empire, the biggest Empire in the history of the world! Only the British can make the loss of an Empire as a triumphant victory! If Queen Victoria had extended the Empire to one where the sun never sets, Queen Elizabeth, has reduced the Empire to one where sun rises and sets at predictable times.

The Roman Empire lasted some 1400 years. The Mughals lasted a little over 300 years. From start to finish, the British Empire lasted a mere 200 years, largest and the shortest. There are many reasons for it. Many of those still exist within the British Royal family as Meghan will tell you.

The disintegration of the Empire hasn’t ended. The Commonwealth is a bit fed up with being told to be democratic but to accept the Queen as the non-elected permanent head. Many want to leave and others want rotating Presidents of Commonwealth. The Queen, they say will be the last one.

Within Britain itself, only 40% of the younger generation want to keep the Royalty. There are concerns that Royalty is seen as an anachronistic symbol of a brutal and oppressive past in British history. As the imperially drenched older generation ingrained with pomposity fades into the big sky, it seems increasingly possible the Monarchy too will fade as the last relic of an age, glorious to some, inglorious to others. It doesn’t matter how many song and dance shows are staged to make Royalty appear benign, its destructive shadow from the past lingers scattered around the world and its role in propping the class system in Britain remains. Sometimes soon that past will fade as did other empires. Unless David Icke is right, then we are in another realm.

Hindutva’s New Tava Missile

Hindutva is sometimes an aimless, groundless, mindless rocket that tends to whirr around from time to time spinning like a top falling off the edge and hitting an unsuspecting beetle beneath. It seems it has now entered that space between terracotta and chaotic neutrons where verbal travel is directionless.

No one really knows what Hindutva is, so its most fanatic adherents usually make it up as a sum of their prejudices, hates and mythical glory.

A couple have taken a pot shot at Prophet Mohammed now. Boom. It was easy beating up ordinary Muslims going about their daily business and even killing a few to end Kaliyug and revive a creationist past from 6,000 years ago when allegedly only ‘Hindus’ lived in Bharat in Dwapar Yug. The Muslim nations turned a blind eye calling it domestic issues and cultural idiosyncrasy, except Pakistan which has a few hundred of its own similar domestic issues as wannabe Mullahs beat up Shias, Christians or occasionally other communities.

The problem with Hindutva is that there is no word Hindu endogenous to the civilisation of South Asia. It is an exonym made popular by Islamic invaders as they settled in the region. Therefore Hinduism has no coherence, no philosophy, no central belief. Hindu was just a name for those who didn’t convert to Islam and Hinduism for everything that was not Abrahamic in South Asia. Then it was given a Royal stamp by British imperialist. Hindus as a category became part of census. All the very profound but different indigenous worldviews, philosophies and belief systems, such as Vedanta, Shaivism, Advaitism, Vaishnava, Carvakaism, Sankhya, Nyaya etc were packaged into one by the lazy British in a version of the usual, ‘they all look alike’.

It is difficult to develop a meaningful political ideology from an exonym or a category of convenience for the census. ‘Hindutva’ nevertheless was born to give Hinduism and Hindus an ideological identity. It is mostly an ‘anti everyone else’ ideology drawing boundaries. So hating those who don’t call themselves Hindus is part of it. They include Muslims, Christians, secularists and sometimes even Sikhs.

This time the ‘knock them down’ policy went a bit ballistic as the perpetrators hit the hypersonic missile button. Unfortunately the missile has boomerang engine.

Muslims tolerate many things, including blowing each other’s mosques, killing each other in the name of cleansing the faith, chopping heads of apostates. But attacking Prophet Mohammed suddenly unites them all. Outsiders sometimes fail to see this.

Salman Rushdie, still neurotically living and writers of Charlie Hebdo still drawing on State funds for protection should have cautioned the Hindutva forward charge brigade to know the boundaries of their favourite past time. Muslim nations stopped bombing each other (Yemen etc) and decided to stand up united for a few seconds. One by one they are lining to get an official apology from the Indian State.

At stake is $350 billion trade or part of it, a loss of goodwill from Middle East nations, and an opportunist take by Pakistan to fill in the job market that might emerge if Indian workers are sent packing home. Indian products are already being boycotted in some Middle East countries. India may have to quickly behead Nupur Sharma or at least give a humbling apology. It’s quite a feat having played some remarkable diplomatic dexterity around Ukraine only to land in a problem of its own making and attract the ire of 52 Muslim countries. It’s all in Modiji’s hands now. On the other hand the few seconds of ire may pass and pensioning off the two Generals of Hindutva might just do the trick.