Should we do away with them?
With the passing away of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the end of a very long era in world history, it’s a question being increasingly asked. Are traditional royal monarchies relevant anymore or should they be dismantled, at least whittled down drastically given the redundant pomp and ceremony involved with the lifestyles of the royals and their huge families near and dear or extended — much to the detriment of the public kitty and at the expense of better infrastructure and welfare of the people of a country?

Goan Observer asked around and got a few interesting responses…

MONA D’Souza, teacher, Goa:
Monarchy? Are you crazy enough to patronize a monarchy in this century! In this time and age, it’s unbelievable, a 21st century joke. It’s only the royal British traditions holding everything together but the history is half dead now…why should we look up at royals as gods? They are no longer gods! Oh, I grant you Queen Elizabeth was a fabulous, beautiful woman and a revolutionary in her own way, much respected and loved in the Commonwealth countries which she visited several times in her younger years. But I think it’s all over for me as far as the royals are concerned! Not my cup of tea.

DR JOSE FILIPE ALVARES, gastroenterologist, Victor Hospital, Margao:

The monarchy today is a waste of tax-payers money, it’s a massive expenditure on government to maintain monarchy. They should pay for themselves and governments anywhere in world should have nothing to do with monarchy!

ANSELIM ALMEIDA, Technical Officer, NIO:
What I think of monarchies? For most of history the world has been ruled by kings and queens. And since monarchy is by nature dynastic, not everyone can have a chance at being king or a queen, which adds to its magic and mystery. It is also but natural that most of our folk tales and old stories would incorporate monarchy in some form or the other. England is one of the few countries where monarchy has not only survived but flourished and is glamourized. My early education was in English and I was brought up on a steady diet of English literature with writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, besides others (who perhaps for the sake of patronising) portrayed the royalty in good light. To add to this most of the nursery rhymes, fables and fairy tales, were built around this narrative. The British monarchy also built on this fantasy and kept up with the act. The magical wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana added to this awe. And so the British monarchy became the stuff of our dreams! Even though we may know better that it’s all a farce acted out, along with our need for our Hollywood and Bollywood heroes, we need a little of the fantasy to get over the harsh reality of daily life. We need this hope, that there is a better world out there, where the grass is greener. We all dream of meeting a princess or a Prince Charming rescuing us, or a chance meeting with a king disguised as a commoner. With the advent of democracies and the changing order of the world, the world of monarchy is becoming more surreal and a distant dream. However, as many of the world’s democracies fail, who knows? Perhaps there might be yet another chance for monarchies!

NILESH NAIK, security policeman, Panaji:
Monarchy can be good and bad. Pehle zamane mein (in olden times) raja used to help us out with our farming, not like today’s government! But maharaja or maharani were not all the same type, my father used to say if raja or his people liked a village girl they would ask for her to be sent to work in their palace, and of course nobody could say anything about the royal family! So I will say, good also, bad also, depending on their sanskaar. But Indira Gandhi finished them I think!

PANKAJBALA R PATEL, media person, Goa:
IF you’re asking me the British royalty is like the addiction of the Mills & Boons stories of old! Looking at their lifestyles who wouldn’t want to be a queen or a king and much of what is now coming out of the British royal media coverage you will see how various members of the family live scandalous, licentious lifestyles of betrayals and hypocrisy. With their hyper designer clothes and collection of jewellery and the good life, they make up some of our richest elite society and I don’t envy them at all…as if it the people have a sacred duty to keep them in the luxury and comfort they are born to! I think the royal family caused a lot of grief to the matriarchal Queen Elizabeth although she maintained her dignity and private secrets through it all till the end. She must have died a pretty disillusioned queen!
The British royal family with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
SHEELA SOMAIYA, retired homemaker, Mumbai:
No, I don’t think monarchies are relevant anymore! I know everybody loves Queen Elizabeth in the UK but look at the economy of the country, it’s in such bad shape. I don’t take an interest in the royalty anywhere anymore! Although of course everybody loved Queen Elizabeth…never mind that her crown jewels come from the British colonies of the world. It seems like a huge theft! What’s the use of all these monarchies? The British public is living in a fool’s paradise like we in India live in a fool’s paradise lapping up our Bollywood celebrities lifestyles! And then we have our politicians who think they are royalty, a different kind of royalty, look at Lalloo Yadav…look at Russia! I think monarchies traditional or political are the biggest tragedy of our world and I am sure there will be another world war soon to fill up their bank accounts.
ASMA TORGAL, student, Belgaum:
Why not keep the monarchy? This is just not an issue in the UK because it is irrelevant to any political issue. However, abolishing the monarchy would be an expensive and problematic process. There are a few factors to observe: The king donates most of the proceeds from his holdings to the British government, which do not belong to the government. The sovereign rights lands controlled by the Crown are private properties. Abolition of monarchy will still leave these holdings in royal family hands and the government would cease to get the proceeds. Again, the prime minister runs the government whereas the king represents the UK as a whole. The royal family provides the nation with a political body as diplomatic corps, military figureheads and unifying figure across the board. The England monarchy is one of the most politically stable in the world. And if the nation combines their head of state with their government leaders it will be a dreadful combination. Also I think the head of state for the UK remains the head of multiple other nations such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuval and many others. If the monarchy is abolished the king would have to their governments to reconfigure themselves to install new head of state. . We have seen when anarchy breaks out heads of state are assassinated and politicians get involved. Take the example of Korea which is under military rule, imagine the problems which would arise if the entire royal family is murdered (as happened with the Russian royal family in the Bolshevic uprising in 1917). I think the British royal family is far too inherently linked to its old traditions, government and Brits identify in the society. They are not the kind of nation that simply discards something amazing just because it lacks the same functionality as in the past. There’s no purpose in abolishing the British monarchy! It’s one of the longest living institutions in the world and there’s plenty of merit in maintaining it. Even if I agree to abolishing the monarchy I feel this is a delicate time to consider such a massive change to the structure of the UK’s democracy. We are still trying to figure how the new King Charles III will run the country considering the current issues facing the state. A massive upheaval has already been caused with the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the people don’t need to be faced with the issues of abolishing monarchy.

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