We all thought Diamonds are forever. The Kohinoor she wore, yes; Queen Elizabeth II, no. Not even Her Majesty’s 007 could save the Queen, even though he could sing it – God Save the Queen, the UK National Anthem – in his sleep. It’s not clear if this other British icon, Ian Fleming’s 007 will wake up again from his sleep too.
The Queen is dead, long live the King! That is to say, the British Queen and British King! Earlier it used to be The King is dead, Long live the King – for continuity! But I guess the Brits are tired of monarchs that reign for so long, that the rain dries up (there is drought this year!) and may like to rein them in. It might be repeated soon, though King Charles III wouldn’t like it said of him, after what is said of him now – Long Live the King! Ironically, it was first said in French, Le roi est mort, Vive le roi! about the accession to the French throne of Charles VII after the death of his father Charles VI in 1422. It was Charles then and it’s Charles again! Next in line is William, I Tell you! He is Apple of the Eye! Not sure if he wears one though, watch, not the fruit. Watch the funeral to find out!
The Queen died soon after anointing Liz Truss as the new British Prime Minister. She was the 15th British PM she did that to! And accepted the resignation on one pretext or another of 14. She did that too! The next one will be anointed, presumably by King Charles III, and no one can say whether it will be sooner rather than later, given the UK’s drought, winter and rising gas prices coming together as one for the ages! Maybe the pressure of the rising cost of living on her household – huge houses, lots of gas required, lots of water too for the lawns, and the fawns – was a factor in her deteriorating health? but then, she had seen worse during her reign!
While she has seen PMs come and go in her own country, she didn’t leave the other countries, especially her commonwealth behind! If you are wondering where that name came from, it is from the wealth of the countries that Great Britain Colonized until the early 1950s: today it’s called merger and acquisition. Then it was Acquisition and Purger! It was also, for brevity’s sake, called Colonization, and not for nothing. Every acquisition followed the principle of the colon – in its function, its aptitude, and its attitude. Britain considered all the wealth it surveyed, as belonging to the House of Commons! primarily because their in-house wealth was not so common, and some wished to live as Lords!
They went around the world in their ships, berthed here and there, gave birth too, and proclaimed the greatness of their Country, which itself became great because of Acquisitions and Purgers! It is not clear why, when they lived in such a great country, they needed to explore other countries and proclaim that greatness there! That conundrum is prevalent in our country today! But that is another debate set for another day.
They called it Great Britain, and the Kings and peoples to whom they told this secret, were either enamoured or enslaved. You couldn’t escape. They gave them their all to make themselves and them Greater. Their wealth became common to a few. But do recall that nursery rhyme we learnt because of McCaulay? ‘Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down and broke his crown, and Jill came tumbling after.’ Well, it happened. And the commons wealth that they took but did not return, returned in the form of people from the Commonwealth, seeking in it the very greatness they had earlier advertised! Couldn’t turn them back! That would be small-minded for such a great Nation. And indeed, if greatness were to be found, they would find it. For they knew how. Like many Indians have done around the world in Corporates and public service. And the rest? they are finding it, slowly but surely.
Diamonds do last forever, and the Kohinoor certainly will now that 007 has gone to ground. For the moment it lives on in the Crown, which with age, is slowly turning a darker shade of pale! The surface polish is gone, and not to Poland! Just have a look at the latest British Cabinet, its cricket and football teams!
We are part of their Commonwealth true, and a lot of our common’s wealth (besides the Kohinoor) resides in Great Britain, by hook or by crook for a variety of reasons, some known, some unknown. Maybe it’s time to peep through the Johari Window. But we must feel relieved that we need not say Long Live their King because we have our own after we became a Republic. To him, we owe that courtesy!
According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “a Republic is a form of government in which representatives of the citizen body rule a state. Modern Republics are founded on the idea that sovereignty rests with the people, though who is included and excluded from the category of the people has varied across history.” And that’s a reading from the Encylopedia Britannica mind you!
In post-modern republics, however, the elected representatives ensure that the sovereignty remains with themselves, denigrating, crushing, or consigning to the wayside all those that disagree with this idea. They focus on all kinds of duties – do your duty, pay your duty, put your duty before self-etc. They focus on rights too. Your right to do your duty; but to whom? the nation or the Government in power? The line between the two is so blurred today that a cataract operation won’t help with clarity! But you’re right to do your duty. That clarity is available.
Now that the Queen is dead, a lot of countries in the Commonwealth will feel the lack of a common thread, that sewed them together, and the seams may come apart. India Brexited much earlier when it became a Republic, but it was not until recently that it started shaming and naming all that the British initiated, nurtured or cherished except Scotch Whisky! Maybe that too. Its single malts are gradually replacing the Scottish ones! It’s called shedding the colonial mindset. And do recall the definition of colon!
Lots of such moves have eased the colon. From self – attestation of documents (you no longer need to wait for a gazetted officer to attest your documents), to renaming the Rajpath (named after independence from the British era Kingsway to mark the transfer of power!) to Karthavya Path (co-incidentally on the day the Queen Died!) where Kings will hold sway provided you do your duty, the unfurling of the new Navy ensign which eliminated the St. Georges Cross, replacement of the Abide with me Hymn with Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo at the Beating Retreat ceremony of the Armed forces and the renaming of Towns and Cities and even Islands in the Andaman and Nicobar islands with names that are more meaningful to those who use them often or are more reflective of our heritage than someone else’s.
Around 1500 laws from that era have been repealed, save those that serve a purpose – like the Indian Police Act 1861, Indian Evidence Act 1872 and the Indian Penal Code 1860, which have been modified to some extent, but their overall design and purpose remain unaltered. And still, there is Sedition in the current edition! And the Khaki colour! And the White towel on the headrest of Bureaucrat seats of power, the District Administration and overall administrative institutions haven’t changed much, though lateral entries from professionals are now being encouraged and of course the Left- hand drive on Left-leaning roads. There are colons between every sentence, so there is still scope; for the Proctoscope. And Hope!
75 years since we stopped singing God save the Queen, we have surpassed Britain in the World Economic Rankings. We are now 5th, they are 6th. And we dominate the ICC and the MCC! But their per capita income is three times ours. And so, while the stats look good in terms of charts for a game of darts, it’s still quite the grind for those who can’t play the game. It’s all part of the Games People Play! Read the Book by Eric Berne to know more! This is what you can do until next week when I’ll be back again to test your patience and attention span!
This Article is written in a lighter vein with tongue-in-cheek. It hopes to bring a smile to your face, and you must not ascribe motives to its contents. There is no connection to events and characters in real life and if perchance you find a connection with any real-life event or character, rest assured it’s purely coincidental or just a mirage!