26 November, 2020

Tell It To The Dreaming Spires

Reparations for the Raj? Debts, material or moral, do not devolve so far down the generations.

Courtesy: Roli Books
Tell It To The Dreaming Spires

So Shashi Tharoor thinks India should jump aboard the reparations bandwagon. Courtesy of his polished rhetoric and YouTube’s ubiquity, two million tweeting Indians, including the prime minister, approve. But what is it they all so ‘like’? And where is the logic in Tharoor’s diatribe? The undergraduates of the Oxford Union had proposed that “Britain owes reparation to her former colonies”, a motion no doubt prompted by recent publicity given to the claims of Kenyan veterans of the Mau-Mau struggle of the 1950s. Tharoor didn’t mention the Kenyans, nor did he find time for any other surviving victims of colonial opp­ression. He had a bigger, much staler fish to fry. The UK must apologise and offer compensation for the injuries and injustices sustained by India’s millions during what he called “200 years of colonial rule” in South Asia.

As the nearly-man of the UN Sec­retariat and then the Congress, Tharoor cited “the principles of reparation” and “a moral debt that needs to be...



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