Quite the tongue twister that one, eh? Yeah, that’s what happens when you try to work a little too hard on your title. You end up making a tongue twister that hardly anyone can read, much else dare to click on the link and read the supposedly equally horrifying content contained under such a dubious head line. However, coming to the topic at hand...
The Statesman who almost did things
|Dr Shashi Tharoor|
Image Courtesy: thehindu.com
Dr Shashi Tharoor, the man who almost headed the United Nations, the man who knows almost everything about socio-economic India in the present age; this man almost brought the British Empire down to its knees at the ‘Reparations debate’ at the Oxford Union Society. The proposition was that Britain owed reparations to her former colonies for their colonization.
The Case for an Apology
|The British Empire Anachronous|
Image Courtesy: The Red Hat of Pat Ferrick
Dr Tharoor spoke eloquently for the proposition, made mockery of the opposition, cited statistics, and even managed to calculate to a certain extent, how much Britain needs to pay India if she decides to do so. But, in the midst of all the financial talk, he said something that made perhaps more sense than everything else put together: The need to accept a mistake and say sorry. To pay or not to pay is a matter of ambiguous uncertainty but to say that a debt is indeed owed is what is important.
Indirect genocides through the inaction of the British Empire through various famines and the active participation in human rights abuse is something that needs to be accepted. Although it is true that a deliberate mass killing was not initiated but the death toll and one psychological, need to be addressed.
The Unanswered Question
However, one question does remain unanswered.
Sixty-eight years on, do Indians even care about reparations, and for that matter, do any of the former colonies who have since then stabilized, settled into their democratic framework and progressed with the world into the 21st century?
This question is not meant as an insult to all those who fought for our freedom or who lost their near and dear ones either fighting for or against British rule in India. Only time and the unearthing of bones long put to rest will tell whether we are indeed capable of holding on to an almost seven decade long grudge against people long dead and dusted.