India mourns death of Queen Elizabeth II, ruling center of many questions

By PTI IST (Released)


As people around the world mourned the Queen and highlighted her contribution to hundreds of charities, many others remembered how countries colonized by the British paid for their inheritance.

As India observes state mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday, many people questioned the decision after government attempts to remove ‘symbols of slavery’ by renaming Rajpath and unveiling a new naval ensign inspired by Chhatrapati Shivaji.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, affectionately known as Lilibet, breathed her last at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Thursday. She reigned as Britain’s longest-serving monarch for 70 years. She was 96 years old.

“For a country that has changed the naval ensign saying the symbols of slavery must be removed, declaring state mourning is a contradiction,” said Swapnil Narendra, a Delhi-based writer.

As people around the world mourned the Queen and highlighted her contribution to hundreds of charities, many others remembered how countries colonized by the British paid for their inheritance.

Ananya Bhardwaj, a doctoral student at George Washington University, said: “As an Indian, I identify as a postcolonial subject and hearing about the one-day mourning for the Queen in India is very disheartening.”

“I don’t agree with people who say they mourn the Queen and not the Empire because the title we know comes from that Imperial institution. Therefore, seeing her in the absence of the Empire she represents makes no sense,” she said.

Purva Mittal, a doctoral student and political consultant, believes the government is following “protocol” in announcing national mourning. “India was granted membership in the Commonwealth of Nations without taking an oath of allegiance to the Crown. Official mourning decisions are based on political position and international relations.”

India is part of the Commonwealth of Nations, a political association of 56 member states, the vast majority of which are former territories of the British Empire.

Just as news of Queen’s disappearance began to make rounds the internet, several netizens on Twitter demanded that the Kohinoor diamond be brought back to India, while others criticized the government’s decision to announce the State mourning for the UK’s longest-serving monarch.

“Can we now get our #Kohinoor back? Let’s remember that Queen Elizabeth is not a holdover from colonial times. She was an active participant in colonialism. #QueenElizabeth #India,” one Twitter user said.

Another user tweeted: “The decision to mourn the death of #QueenElizabethII by #India is tantamount to disrespecting and insulting our freedom fighters and their sacrifices.”

Mittal said: “The Queen has been said to be the binding force between Britain and her colonies, often forgetting that the past and said association was based on subordination, the gaslighting of native culture and the great theft of the national treasure. Its disappearance marks the end of a tainted chapter in the history of the world.”

On the other hand, there are people who feel that government statements and decisions are out of step.

“I have no problem with mourning but I am confused with what my government is trying to tell me. If we are to remove the symbols of slavery, why are we mourning the death of our colonizer’s queen?” Narendra said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on Thursday that Kingsway or Rajpath, a ‘symbol of slavery’, had been consigned to history and erased forever and claimed that a new history had arisen at Kartavya Path and that with the statue of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at India Gate will now guide and inspire the country.

During the commissioning of India’s first locally-built aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, on September 2, the Prime Minister also unveiled the new Navy Pavilion, saying the country had shed the “burden of slavery”.

Madhulika Gupta, a marketing professional, said: “I think royalty or not, it’s unfair to mourn the loss of someone whose crimes against humanity, racist and white supremacist behavior have been well documented. “

“His demise is the end of an era, a reign underlined by colonization, the shameless theft from Commonwealth countries, causing famines, setting countries back 50 years and not apologizing for anything,” Gupta said.

Narendra, in his attempt to present the queen’s demise in a broader sense, said: “I believe that we must respect the dead and that despite all the horrific past of colonization and other human rights abuses man, the queen deserves a dignified last farewell.”


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