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From Respect to Resentment and Painful Reminders, Queen Elizabeth’s Death Sparks a Range of Emotions Among Indians

From Respect to Resentment and Painful Reminders, Queen Elizabeth’s Death Sparks a Range of Emotions Among Indians

  • Social media was flooded with conflicting views on the monarchy as well as calls for the return of India’s famed Kohinoor diamond.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the nation’s figurehead for seven decades, sparked a mixed range of emotions from around the world. World leaders, lawmakers, celebrities, and regular people paid tribute to her legacy and expressed their condolences. The queen’s death also kindled painful memories of British colonialism and the violence it brought.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, called the queen “a stalwart of our times.” He reminisced about a meeting with the queen in Britain when she showed him a handkerchief that had been given to her by Mahatma Gandhi at the time of her wedding.

President Droupadi Murmu tweeted: “In the demise of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of UK, the world has lost a great personality. An era has passed since she steered her country and people for over 7 decades. I share the grief of people of the UK and convey my heartfelt condolence to the family.”

In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi offered his condolences to the people of the UK and the Royal family. He said Queen Elizabeth II “had a long and glorious reign, serving her country with utmost commitment and dignity.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) sent his condolences “to our friends in the UK as they mourn the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She stood not only as a symbol of her nation, but also as a friend to the United States. May she rest in peace.”

His colleague, Congressman Ami Bera of California said the queen was “a towering leader who served with strength and dignity for over seven decades.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was “deeply grieved” at the queen’s passing, He said “Pakistan joins the UK & other Commonwealth nations in mourning her death. My heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family, people & government of the UK.”

Dr. Shahzad Waseem, leader of the Opposition in the Senate of Pakistan, shared a photo of him signing a condolence book “to convey profound sympathy” on the passing of the queen. “Her reign was truly remarkable & historic. She personified grace, honour & dignity.”

Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he was “deeply grieved” at the queen’s passing, He said “Pakistan joins the UK & other Commonwealth nations in mourning her death. My heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family, people & government of the UK.”

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a tweet, called the queen “a symbol of stability and endurance.”

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, leader of a former British colony, “offered her deep condolences and expressed her sorrow at the death of Queen Elizabeth II,” Hasan Jahid Tusher, Hasina’s spokesman, told Agence France-Presse. 

In India, sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik paid a “heartfelt tribute” to the queen with an installation of 740 roses at Puri beach.

Prominent British lawmakers like Rishi Sunak, Sadiq Khan, and Priti Patel, joined people all over the world as they remembered the queen for her grace and humor. She had the longest reign of any royal in British history, and most of the world’s populace now alive has known no other British monarch.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan paid tribute to the late queen in a memorial service at the London Assembly, as reported by My London. Addressing attendees including Assembly members, MPs and London council leaders, he said the queen “was with us during our darkest hours and brightest days.” He noted that “the outpouring of grief, sorrow and affection that we’ve witnessed since the devastating loss shows how many lives she touched with her singular grace and powerful example of duty and dignity.” He also shared what it meant to swear his oath of allegiance to the queen as an MP. “One of my fondest childhood memories was lining the streets with fellow Londoners as her silver jubilee procession wound its way past our estate in Tooting.”

Rishi Sunak, the former chancellor and MP from Richmond, Yorkshire, thanked the queen for “a lifetime of service to our country, for showing us what duty means and for always putting the country and commonwealth first.” 

Priti Patel, the former home secretary and Witham MP, condoled the death. “Across the Witham constituency we are mourning the passing of the late Queen and remembering her lifetime of duty and public service to the people of this country, the Commonwealth and other parts of the world,” she wrote on her website. “Now the Elizabethan era has ended, we pledge our loyalty to our new Sovereign, King Charles III, and wish him a long and successful reign. God Save The King.”

Similarly, Leo Varadkar, an Irish Fine Gael politician who is serving as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment since June 2020, also took to Twitter to remember the queen.

Dr. Selvaseelan Selvarajah, a London-based physician thinks that it would have  “been a good idea to create a permanent bank holiday from 2023 onwards to commemorate our longest serving monarch.” He also feels that the funeral should have been held on the weekend “without disrupting #NHS , schools etc.”

There were many who shared their conflicted views on the monarchy on social media. “Not sure why the tricolor should be flown at half mast throughout India on all buildings where the National Flag is flown regularly, as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom of Great Britain,” tweeted Indian journalist Aarti Tikoo, referring to the Indian government declaring Sept. 11 as a day of mourning, with flags flying at half-staff to honor the late queen.

Aditya Raj Kaul, executive editor of TV9 Network, in his tweet noted the irony of Queen Elizabeth dying “on a day when India in a grand ceremony decided to bury its brutal colonial relics and began a proud new journey of Indian heritage, freedom & culture.

Kaul was talking of the renaming of New Delhi’s Rajpath as Kartavya Path on Sept. 8, a few hours before the queen’s death. It was originally named Kingsway in honor of King George V, Elizabeth’s grandfather. “Kingsway, or Rajpath, the symbol of slavery, has become a matter of history from today and has been erased forever,” said Modi, during the renaming, according to The New York Times. 

Although Elizabeth was crowned queen five years after India gained independence “and most Indians today were born a generation after the end of the British Raj,” the Times noted that “historians point to the ways in which British rule left indelible scars on the Indian subcontinent, especially the bloody partition of India and Pakistan.”

Ananya Bhardwaj, a scholar at George Washington University told The Quint that as an Indian, she identifies as “a postcolonial subject and hearing of the one-day mourning for the queen in India is very disheartening.” She said she doesn’t “agree with people who say they mourn the queen and not the empire because the title though we know her comes from that imperial institution. Therefore, seeing her in the absence of the Empire she represents makes no sense.”

The queen’s last visit to India was in1997 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its independence from colonial Britain. Before that, the queen visited India twice, in 1971 and 1983. 

“The question that swirled around her then [during the 1997 visit] was whether her visit to Jallianwalla Bagh, the site where in 1919 a British general ordered troops to fire on a peaceful gathering, amounted to a full-fledged apology for the massacre that left hundreds dead, one of the deadliest incidents of the colonial era,” as reported by The New York Times. At the time, she offered what the Times calls “something less than an apology.” Speaking at a state banquet in New Delhi, she acknowledged that “there have been some difficult episodes in our past,” including the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, adding that “history cannot be rewritten, however much we might sometimes wish otherwise. It has its moments of sadness, as well as gladness. We must learn from the sadness and build on the gladness.”

Rahul Shivshankar, editorial director and editor-in-chief of Times Now tweeted that instead of the queen, Indians should remember Rani Jhansibai, “who, in1857 raised her sword for the emancipation of the oppressed and almost won.” instead of the queen.

Some questioned Indian leaders sending their condolences to the queen as well. “Has the Late Queen Elizabeth ever consoled the death of any Indian Prime Ministers whatsoever? Why should India send condolences for her death?”

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Others reminded that the queen is not a remnant of colonial times. She was an active participant in colonialism. Some didn’t believe in “glorifying a family that will never care about you.”

“I don’t feel bad for Queen Elizabeth at all actually,” tweeted a user named Suri. “She ruled over colonies guilt free, she defended her son who groomed children on Epstein’s island, she banned racial minorities from working for her until the late 60s & she’s just generally a terrible person.”

Indian American journalist Arun Gupta tweeted that his “family is celebrating the death of Queen Elizabeth II.” He said the “British monarchy is worse than Nazis, as their atrocities span centuries.”

Despite the atrocities of the British monarch, many like designer and entrepreneur Savitri Mumukshu took to social media to remember Elizabeth for her grace and dignity. 

“Queen Elizabeth II was the daughter of India’s last King Emperor, a grand title that is so out of place in today’s world,” tweeted journalist and politician Swapan Dasgupta. “She lived through an era of British decline but yet symbolized dignity and a profound sense of duty. She will be honored more than her grander predecessors.”

A Chicago-based user had a tweet addressed to all those who were mourning the queen. “If you’re mourning the loss of Queen Elizabeth, the education system has failed you. She was a colonizer and responsible for countless lives lost in a variety of African nations, Ireland and India. You won’t be missed Liz.”

Social media was also flooded with calls for the return of India’s famed Kohinoor diamond. Tens of thousands of tweets about the crown jewels had the term “Kohinoor” trending in India. 

According to Time magazine, the Kohinoor diamond is just one of 2,800 stones set in the crown made for Elizabeth’s mother, known as the Queen Mother, “but the 105-carat oval-shaped brilliant is the proverbial jewel in the crown.” It is “notorious” in India, for the way it was acquired by the British, it added. 

A user named Mr. B had objections to using the name given to our diamond by colonizers. “Kohinoor is a foreign name given to our diamond by invaders and colonialists,” he wrote. “The Hindus of earlier days called it by the name Syamantaka.” 

Ajiam Singh reminded the Twitter world that “the British looted $45 trillion (in today’s value) from India,” adding “Sickular Indians are going crazy over her death.” While “it’s our ethics to bow down for a soul,” he said people should “never forget what they did to our country.”

Meanwhile, Kapil Komireddi, a freelance writer and author of “Malevolent Republic,” made “a plea to the wokesters baking their hot anti-colonial takes” after the queen’s death. “Hold your fire today,” he tweeted. “Queen Elizabeth II, born to the last King-Emperor of India, grew into a great ally and friend to the peoples of former British colonies. She was authentically popular across the Commonwealth.”

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  • title of your article says ” …. range of emotions among Indians.” then why you include Tweets of Pakistani and Sri Lankans ? Pakistanis and Sri Lankans are not Indians, both of these countries separate from India.

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