The other day I bumped into Lord Louise Mountbattan. I know he’s dead (the IRA blew him up) but his spirit haunts India as he was the LastViceroy of India and can’t forget the great time he had living in the Raj Bhavan, riding in grand carriages, fawned over by us, dividing up India and spending time with his good pal Nehru. He didn’t mind his wife Edwina frolicking with the future PM of India as he believed India should continue to be ruled by a Raj type of person.
‘So what do you think of modern India, Dicky?’ I asked him. Dicky was his nickname and I thought I could be familiar with our Last Viceroy to make him feel at home in India Inc.
‘Not changed much, old chap,’ he replied. ‘You’ve got a many more motor cars, more buildings and a few billionaires, whatever that means, but it’s still ruled by the Raj.’
‘Raj! Nonsense. We’re an independent nation, part of BRIC, high GDP and a country to be reckoned with.’
‘When the British Raj left India we made sure that the reins were handed over to someone we could trust to continue our rule. In proxy of course. And that is why we chose the Congress party. It’s a fine, upstanding party that upholds everything that is British. India has faithfully followed the British way of life. We have a Queen, and so do you. Our Queen is a foreigner, more German blood than British blood. Your Queen too is a foreigner, more Italian blood than Indian. They are alike too. We have a Prime Minister who has to have the Queen to approve, in theory of course, his political agenda. In that, you have gone back a century to Empress Victoria as your Queen has more power than our Queen. Like Victoria your Queen formulates policy and instructs your Prime Minister. We have a royal family, so do you. Our royal family doesn’t dabble in politics though Charlie would love to. Our royal family just hunt and fish and party, as they’re supposed to do for the sake of our tabloid newspapers. Your royal family dabbles in politics constantly, instead of just being royal and party like our family. We have a feudal society, so do you. Look at all the children of politicians who now have seats in your parliament and state assemblies. You should copy our example and stuff all those children into an upper house. We call it House of Lords; yours is the Raja Sabha. That’s where the feudals should be kept so they don’t cause mischief.’
‘Not every one in India recognizes our royal family,’ I protested. ‘We’re a republic and want a good devious politician, like a Tony Blair, to be our PM. We’d prefer our Queen to stay at home and do her knitting. At least, she doesn’t love dogs like your Queen.’
‘But she can’t stay at home, can she?’ he countered. ‘The good ole Congress boys want a foreigner to lead them. We taught them how to be led by one of us and they cannot forget their lessons. They know full well that if your Queen didn’t campaign for them, they would lose every election. They have as much charisma as fleas. If tomorrow, our Queen campaigned for the Tories or the Labour or the Liberals, they would win the election hands down.’ He shook his head. ‘No, you love your feudals. Your Queen only campaigns as she wants the crown prince to take his rightful place on the throne. Charlie’s wating for his place but our Queen knows he’ll make a mess at being King. Just like yours will, one day.’
‘Our prince-in-waiting will do great. Who else do we have?’
‘True. If you know your history, we British called it his Divine Right to be King.’