Folks! During the last few days we all loved watching the pictures of our little princess. Are you amused when I call her our little princess? Who am I after all? I am an Australian-Indian. No, I’m an Indian-Australian. See I don’t even know properly who I am. On top of that I am bent upon forming affiliation with the baby girl born in Britain’s royal family. Well, there are many reasons I feel directly connected and indirectly influenced by the baby girl.
1). Firstly, I love babies in all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds.
Such is this charm, that I am embarrassed to admit that at one stage I used to throng all such places where babies are found in huge numbers. Those days, I had prim office jobs but I hugely admired motherly jobs like that of child care workers. Babies must not be neglected! I never neglected mine. I’ve now got over my regular urge to sneak peek inside every pram that passes me by but little bubs still continue to amaze me. We should bow before them for the world belongs to them. Think of it, they’re going to outlive us and it’s a matter of time before they take over us, the mature aging adults.
And it doesn’t matter to me whether the baby I admire is a royal baby or some random four-month old miraculously found alive during rescue operations after the recent killer earthquake in Nepal. When they are highlighted by the media, all babies make a pleasant sight of a new life, meant to be enjoyed. Moreover a sleeping new-born cradled in her mother’s royal arms doesn’t even know she’s the highest ranking female in line to the British throne or that she is being photographed. Hence, there is no reason to dislike the cute princess.
2). The second reason for my affinity is that Charlotte’s mother Kate is just a a mother.
In her role of a mother, Kate Middleton is like any other mother. Whenever any woman becomes a mother, I get a warm fuzzy feeling. Not just human female but seeing videos showing cats and dogs giving birth to their kittens and pups, is no less amazing. The way these animal mothers look after their young ones is no different from that of a human mother. Motherhood is a miracle that restores our faith in God. In fact I suspect, God is a woman.
So if Kate became a mother during the Mother’s Day week – she deserves this menial tribute from us, that her baby be well-liked. Hats off to all mothers on this Mother’s Day!
3). Thirdly, the feminist in me feels good when a baby girl, a daughter, a future woman, is valued so much
Little Charlotte is a girl born when there already exists a boy in her family – brother George. If Kate and William had an existing daughter, the joy felt for this new baby might not have been what it is now for her being the first princess. She gave a general feeling of joy for her being the first female in anyone’s family.
As the first daughter born into the British monarchy in 25 years, she’s a privileged woman in the making, something that most others are not. Let this girl avail her good luck! Born with power, she might grow up to be a strong woman, a harbinger of great changes in the world. The first change is, her grandmother Diana’s name has been given respect it deserves as it has been included in baby Charlotte’s full name.
4). Fourthly, baby Charlotte is an actual princess for all Australians, including me.
Now that’s something! Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II continues to be the Australian head of state. That makes baby Charlotte the princess of Australia or is she the future queen – being fourth in the line?
On hearing the news, Australian PM Tony Abbott said gleefully “A great day for all Australians”. The Government also announced the gift of a cot blanket made of Australian merino wool. Obviously, Australians who love Monarchy and those who are neutral, love the birth of royal babies, a feeling of Britain being an extended home.
But the Republicans who believe it’s high time Australia became a republic with its own head of state, play it mute. There are also other social groups who do not like to go over-the-top about royal weddings and royal babies. They argue that there are graver issues like that of children in detention centers, there are Aboriginal Children with no belonging left in their very own native land and here we go crazy for a rich and royal baby.
Personally, I do not disagree with Republicans and other protest groups. I live in Australia, and if I allow my mother (who lives in India) to run my house from where she lives – how feasible and practical would that be? Other than that, although I’m not exactly a Communist, yet I’m not too much in favor of hereditary privilege; inherited name, fame or wealth. Earn it. Go through hard times, bring out your own mettle.That’s what true democracy should be about – unadulterated equal rights to all.
But even with such views, being an Australian I’ve been opportunist enough to fully enjoy watching the playful antics of baby George when he came to Australia last year and now this new girl too gave rise to simple good feelings of liking.
5). Lastly, my Indian identity make me relate to any news about the British Monarchy.
That’s because, there would hardly be any Indian anywhere in the world who can forget that their ancestors were ruled by the British Crown for so long. I felt the wider impact of British Raj, when after migrating to Australia I come across Indians who have never been to India, as their ancestors were transported by the British Rulers to work in Fiji or Kenya but the descendants of these Indians could never find their way back to their roots.
Modern India itself carries all the good and bad gifts of the British Rule. English language, in all its Indian accents and dialects, is officially used all over India. The Indian Constitution, road names, architecture, pretty much everything has English stamp on it. Calling Bombay by the name of Mumbai and calling Bangalore as Bangaluru does not erase the remnants of India’s colonial past. The way we Indians continue to refer to each other as Sir, Madam, Aunty, Uncle, Sahib – holding on to little relics of British legacy. Then there is this gift of ‘tea’. India is the largest consumer and second largest producer of tea in the world, thanks to monarchist rulers who commerialized the production of tea in India. I too blame as well as thank the Royal Family for my addiction to tea.
Given their historical relation to the British royals, anything British including birth of a royal baby girl, stirs up previous connections within Indians as well as Australians. How did the two countries react to the birth of royal princess? Australia’s reaction was either over the top or warm to luke warm. Going by the news coverage in Indian newspapers about this baby’s birht, there is no anger, no ego issues – general warmth and cuteness galore!
Reason could be that India became a republic in 1950 where as Australia still finds it difficult to cut the umbilical cord. India’s fight for freedom from British Raj was not at all easy but they finally acquired what they wanted – complete sovereignty. Australia on the other hand has a dilemma, of being a separate country while having another country’s queen as head of the state. Some self-esteem or ego issues do arise that inhibit some people from overtly cheering a royal baby’s birth.
If modern generations leave the good or bad of colonial past behind, other general positives give us some reasons to enjoy as well as benefit from news coverage about British Monarchy, its births or weddings.
Australia and India along with other countries are a part of The Commonwealth headed by Queen Elizabeth. It unites nations on the basis of language, history, culture, and shared values. In this world full of factions, anything that brings people together is welcome. And that’s what this baby girl’s appearance did this week as the world went pink with joy.
Moreover, middle-class people the world over come together in their fondness for this well-behaved royal family, as they get to see lives of Kings and Queens. It’s like history come alive when a town crier announces the birth of a princess. There is general sense of equality upon seeing that humans in royal families are like ordinary men and women – normal lives with birth, death and weddings.
The royal family too has more or less been a role model for others. With all the riches and abundance they have, they continue to support family values and relationships, maintain respect for older generations and lineage of many generations bonded closely. A perfect father and a doting husband, Prince William is a good exemplar for common men and women. Simple ettiquettes like carrying the baby capsule to the car, his caring attitude towards his wife and the way this new mother Kate is looked after – let every other mother be treated like that on this Mother’s Day – 10th of May and every other day.
As I sit writing this article, Australian media is chirpily reporting on Prince Harry who is on a visit to Australia. Royalty over-dose. No escape. Better like them as they are likable.
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My previous poem on being a mother: Born Again
© Alka Girdhar