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THAROOR SPEECH: Why bill the British?

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Shashi Tharoor

We allowed them to take over. We invited them in. And let them stay. Any one who fought them was ostracised by his own people. We let each other down. Think of it. Four hundred Portuguese ran Goa and no one could get rid of them till 1960….writes Bikram Vohra

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor

Really. It might have been a good college debate and Shashi Tharoor can rightly demand the gold medal for his delivery but beyond that I simply cannot get my head around the issue of seeking reparations from the Brits for having made India a part of its empire.

We allowed them to take over. We invited them in. And let them stay. Any one who fought them was ostracised by his own people. We let each other down. Think of it. Four hundred Portuguese ran Goa and no one could get rid of them till 1960.

The history of the world is full of conquests. You cannot turn the pages. And how relevant is all this brouhaha about what was only an erudite debate when there are real problems in the world. Why go chasing mirages as if the British are going to say, oops, right, how much is the bill.

I know Winston Churchill has an unpaid bar bill of some twelve pounds at the Bangalore club and they could pay that but anything more is unlikely.

Nearly seven decades have passed and we are getting into a twist about it when the spectres of poverty, hunger, unemployment, corruption, vigilantism and despair are riding their own posse to the apocalypse. look at the  the attention given to what is essentially drawing room blather.

The upper class excitement over Tharoor’s flinging of the gauntlet makes us feel good because it’s again taking on the white man and the weakness, therefore, lies in us that something so banal however well spoken can garner so much attention.

Sepoys from Madras Regiment
Sepoys from Madras Regiment

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