Island of irony: How UK politicians’ ranting on CAA and Delhi riots is quite British in its humour

British politicians are lecturing India on how to deal with matters of citizenship when Brexit, the biggest challenge the UK faces after World War II, is mainly predicated on Britons voting to end rampant immigration under liberal European Union laws.

Abhijit Majumder March 06, 2020 09:18:07 IST
Island of irony: How UK politicians’ ranting on CAA and Delhi riots is quite British in its humour
  • British politicians are lecturing India on how to deal with matters of citizenship when Brexit, the biggest challenge the UK faces after World War II, is mainly predicated on Britons voting to end rampant immigration under liberal European Union laws.

  • India has had minorities as heads in every sphere -- presidents, chief justices, army chiefs, intelligence chiefs, cricket captains…name it.

  • As the lords and ladies get all sanctimonious, ironies start rolling out of their stuffy Victorian tailcoats.

The cornerstone of British humour is irony. The UK’s Parliament and politicians have lately produced so much irony in the context of India that it all adds up to great humour but little else.

Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons this week discussed with much dismay the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the Delhi riots. MPs -- mainly Jeremy Corbyn’s Islamist-apologist Labour which got whipped in the recent elections – described how CAA was discriminatory and Delhi violence was a pogrom unleashed on India’s Muslim minority.

Island of irony How UK politicians ranting on CAA and Delhi riots is quite British in its humour

Representational image. PTI

On both counts, they are wrong. Wilfully, one suspects.

CAA is narrow-window legislation which fast-tracks citizenship for six persecuted religious minorities from three neighbouring Islamic countries. It is neither discriminatory nor does it stop Muslims from those countries to apply for Indian citizenship under other provisions. And it certainly doesn’t affect a single Indian Muslim.

In the Delhi riots, nearly 15 of the 47 killed are Hindus. Dozens of Hindu homes have been torched by Muslim mobs. A fact that Conservative MP Bob Blackman had to remind the likes of Pakistan-origin legislators like Khalid Mahmood, Yasmin Qureshi and Nusrat Ghani who were busy building the fake narrative of Muslim victimhood in India, aided by the likes of Lord David Alton of Liverpool.

As the lords and ladies get all sanctimonious, ironies start rolling out of their stuffy Victorian tailcoats.

Irony #1: Citizenship

British politicians are lecturing India on how to deal with matters of citizenship when Brexit, the biggest challenge the UK faces after World War II, is mainly predicated on Britons voting to end rampant immigration under ‘liberal’ European Union laws.

As Douglas Murray writes in his defining book, The Strange Death of Europe, “only 44.9 percent of London residents now identified themselves as ‘white British’.”

The UK should listen to its own citizens first and then meddle in a sovereign nation’s right to create its own citizenship laws.

Irony #2: Treatment of minorities

India has had minorities as heads in every sphere -- presidents, chief justices, army chiefs, intelligence chiefs, cricket captains…name it. Minorities, in fact, enjoy several privileges in education and other fields.

But till just a decade ago, Britain paid its Gurkha soldiers less than the rest. Gurkhas are the UK’s finest soldiers. It is jokingly said that Argentinians gave up their claim on the Falkland Islands in the ’80s unwilling to being beheaded by the Gurkha soldiers. Britain treated these heroes by discriminating on their pay.

And for all its moral grandstanding, it took Britain a hundred years to issue ‘regrets’ — not even a full apology — for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Irony #3: Drama queens

First, Labour MP Debbie Williams threw a massive tantrum at being turned back on arrival in India. Notwithstanding the fact that she did not have a valid visa. Also, the sheer irony of expecting a red carpet in India while fomenting separatism and glossing over Islamist terrorism in Kashmir.

And now, Labour MP for Nottingham East Nadia Whittome has invoked her grandfather’s apparent contribution in India getting Independence and to accuse that RSS “sucked up to Hitler”.

Turns out Whittome’s grandfather was a Communist. In 1939, Stalin signed a pact with Hitler which would have held if Hitler did not invade Russia. Back in India, CPI was lauding the colonial masters for the “excellent work” of sabotaging the freedom movement while Vinayak Damodar Savarkar urged Hindus to join the army and fight Hitler. With her tenuous grip on history, Whittome seems to have confused Subhash Chandra Bose’s overtures to Hitler to free India with the RSS’s role.

With that one badly-aimed tweet, she poured an entire bucket of irony on herself.

Irony #4: Be-Laboured

Sections of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn has been virulently anti-India. The recent ruckus of CAA, scrapping of Kashmir’s special status and the Delhi riots are mainly coming from Labour.

It is ironical, given the enormity of defeat the Labour Party has just suffered, for it to lecture democratic nations with centuries of a rich multicultural tradition. Labour should instead reflect on why the public rejected it so soundly.

Members of a just-discredited party trying to discredit India and Hindus is ironic. And in a very British way, quite funny.

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