By Syed Ali Mujtaba

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving his subjects some lessons on Colonialism and seeking their adulation by removing some names that he thinks are symbols of colonialism and slavery of India. He did so asking the nation to call the ‘Rajpath’ the road that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, in New Delhi to call it ‘Kartavya Path.’

However, at the same time, he announced that the national flag, a symbol of the freedom struggle, will fly at half-mast as a mark of respect for the death of Queen Elizabeth, the symbol of colonialism and slavery. This exposes the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister and his stature as a patriot has definitely got lowered by such a hypocritical act.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on September 8, renamed “Rajpath” as “Kartavya Path.” He gave the reason that “Rajpath” was a symbol of slavery. Little did he know the road that he calls “Kartavya Path” now was called “Kingsway during the British rule?” Our freedom fighters after getting independence changed their name to “Rajpath” Here Raj means not the British Raj but the people of India. However, currently, those in the mandarin of power think otherwise.

Now seventy-five years after India’s freedom, the current Prime Minister wants to put a stamp on his authority calling “Rajpath” as “Kartavya Path.” In other words, Narendra Modi trying is trying to undo the vision what the freedom fighters who envisaged a new and free India from colonial rule.

Prime Minister calling the “Rajpath” as “Kartavya Path” is scripting a new vision of India where his stamp of authority is more evident than his acts of patriotism. This stand was exposed because a day after changing the name of the road, Prime Minister forgot his Kartavya (duty) and decided to bow the nation’s head to the symbol of colonialism and slavery asking the nation to fly the national flag half-mast as a respect to the demise of the Queen of England.

In an official statement, the Prime Minister’s office announced that the National Flag will fly at half-mast on September 11 as a mark of “respect to the departed dignitary.” Here the departed dignitary is Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and Northern Ireland, who is a symbol of hundreds of years of colonial exploitation, slavery,, and plunder littered all over  India.

The stain of Indian blood on the British monarchy is evident with the suppression of Indians at the massacre of 1857, the Bengal famine, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, the hanging of Bhagat Singh, repression against the Quit India movement revolutionaries, and against the general Indians who struggled for country’s freedom. These are just a few examples of colonial crimes committed under the royal insignia of the British monarchy. This is the same monarchy that was carried forward by Queen Elizabeth II, without any remorse, reparation, or apology to the people of India.

Now our beloved Prime Minister gave the orders to lower our national flag as a mark of respect to this central institution of colonialism and slavery. This singular act has made India once again the slaves of the British Empire. In lowering the national flag, the message from the Indian Fuhrer is; ‘Queen is dead, long live the Queen.’

There are consistent attempts to ‘whitewash’ and dissociate the Queen from these colonial crimes by portraying her as the ‘rock’ of modern Britain. However, the blood on the throne of the British monarchy can’t be washed off, as it represents hundreds of years of colonial exploitation across the globe.

Today, when we Indians are celebrating the 75th anniversary of freedom (‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’) as a mark of respect for the glorious freedom struggle that we won against colonialism and slavery, our Prime Minister is calling for the lowering of the national flag. Dim-witted like me feel that this is an insult to the sacrifice of our freedom fighters who gave their blood to break the colonial shackles.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in order to lower the national flag likes to make the point that he is more loyal to the British crown than to mother India.  This is the most shameful act by the Prime Minister who talks about ending symbols of colonialism and slavery.

Prime Minister by the surgical strikes on Pakistan emerged as a torch bearer of Indian nationalism.  He reduced the Muslim majority state of J&K by creating two Union Territories of Kashmir and Ladakh which was also hailed as acts of his nationalism.  Now the same Prime Minister is telling the country that lowering the national flag at the demise of Queen Elizabe?

Do you know that Elizabeth II, who was crowned in 1953, was Britain’s longest-reigning monarch that presided over British colonial atrocities across the world? She was not a mere remnant of the colonial era, but an active participant in colonial repression in the 1950s and 1960s done by Britain to brutally suppress the anti-colonial struggles across the world. Many countries continued to struggle for freedom for another five decades even after India got its independence. These countries faced violence and massacres at the hands of British forces enforcing the rule of Queen Elizabeth II.

India was lucky that it freed itself from the clutches of British colonialism way back in 1947. Now, in the year 2022 when India is celebrating the 75th anniversary of freedom (‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’) from British rule, the Indian Prime Minister has asked to lower the national flag to mourn the dead British monarch. Is this a national duty that has been decided by a court looking at a Public Interest Litigation in this regard and decided to lower the national flag is betraying the cause of nationalism and or national duty?

In this whole episode, what is surprising is the concurrence of the Sangh Parivar, the RSS, and those who chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai.’ Where is their ‘Bharat kee Asmita’ or national pride when the national flag is lowered as the symbol of colonialism and slavery? None have raised a voice of protest against what otherwise can be a fit case to be called an antinational activity.

Well, this is a new India. Here naming Rajpath as Kartavya Path is touted as ending the symbols of colonialism but at the same time lowering the national for the central institution of colonialism is called nationalism.

This is post-truth India where right is made wrong and wrong is made right.  The decision about Truth and Lie, patriotism, and anti-nationalism are decided by the supreme leader country. Needless to say, this India is different from the vision of the freedom fighters that got us independence from colonial rule.

Trivia – In the fleeting times of World Affairs leaders who are either Innocent or Villain, change their positions in the garb of nationalism.


Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at



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