It is a Shame

It is a matter of disgrace that the Government of India announced 11th September, 2022 as the day of mourning for the demise of Queen Elizabeth–II. Queen Elizabeth–II has never publicly acknowledged, apologised or compensated the victims of her royal family’s action. Queen Victoria assumed the title of Empress of India in 1877, and by 1920 the empire was 13.71 million square miles. The British monarch’s global significance and power stemmed directly from the enslavement of people of colour. Over roughly 200 years, the East India Company and the British Raj siphoned out at least $45 trillion by colonial exploitation and plundering that caused innumerable sufferings of Indians, like the Bengal famine that led to deaths of millions. Britain's rise for 200 years was financed by its depredations in India. In fact Britain's industrial revolution was actually premised upon the de-industrialisation of India. Between 1765-1938, Britain stole $44.60 trillion from India & majority of the treasures were from Punjab and Bengal. In the Lahore Treasury of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Lord Dalhousie ran out of paper when listing out the items. The queen never acknowledged her country’s brutal legacy. Even when she came on the 50th anniversary of India’s Independence in 1997, she refused to apologise for atrocities and massacres inflicted by the colonial British Raj. For them the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was a forgotten chapter.

Moreover, The Royal family never acknowledged the British monarchy’s slave trade, despite directly contributing, supporting and profiting from the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The British monarchy was central to the establishment, expansion, and maintenance of the British Empire and the transatlantic slave trade. The declaration of the English empire was first made by Henry VIII in 1532. Elizabeth I granted a royal charter which was an instrument of incorporation to Sir John Hawkins, widely considered one of the first English traders to profit from the slave trade. She also granted a charter to the British East India Company in 1600. After Elizabeth’s death, Charles II formed the Royal African Company in 1660 which extracted goods such as gold and ivory from the Gold Coast, and transported over 3,000 Africans to Barbados. The worthy British Victorian families that made their money out of the slave economy, one fifth of the elites of the wealthy class in Britain in 19th century owed their money to transporting 3 million Africans across the waters. And in fact in 1833 when slavery was abolished and what happened was a compensation of 20 million pounds was paid not as reparations to those who had lost their lives or who had suffered or been oppressed by slavery but to those who had lost their property. Longest serving British Monarch Late Queen Elizabeth – II never uttered a single word of apology for these monstrous crimes committed by her family and empire. Slave trade and colonial plunder made her the world’s wealthiest queen. Her net worth was estimated to be $427 million. 1333 diamonds were encrusted on the crown she wore for her coronation in 1953 which also had 169 pearls. The jewels stuck on her crown were stolen from India (Kohinoor) and Africa.

It is a shame that Government of India decided to observe a one day State Mourning for the death of an impenitent inheritor of a plunderer and mass murderer family. Oppressed people worldwide will remember her for shamelessly living off the wealth her family reaped from the profits of slavery, on the backs of "her subjects" across the British Empire.

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Vol 55, No. 18, Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2022