This Is Why India Shouldn't Be In The Commonwealth
The Commonwealth of Nations- an organisation of 54 sovereign states formed in 1949. It is a group of states co-operating for mutual advantages and united by common ideals, headed by the Queen of England.
Member states have no legal obligation to one another. Instead, they are united by language, history, culture and their shared values of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law; which is basically wrapping the words- British Raj, in fancy packaging and selling it to countries that are starstruck by anything concerning Britain.
Now let us look through the fancy packaging and ask the important questions.
What REAL advantages does a membership have? Is the Charter even relevant in today's day and age? Must we still be part of a body that serves as a continuous reminder of almost 150 years of colonial oppression?
I'll begin by tackling the Commonwealth's advantages for its members.
There are none.
The Commonwealth of Nations provides no trade privileges to its member states. Countries that make up the organisation are under no obligation to coordinate in terms of foreign policy or towards any kind of defence treaties. The body has no budget or fund which can be used towards providing financial support or capital to needy members.
A membership towards an organisation like the United Nations or the NATO will provide the member with far better international reach and access to financial and developmental support, and a membership to UN even acts as a binding contract to live up to its ideals since not doing so can and does result in widespread censure and boycott.
A bilateral free-trade agreement would do a country's economy infinitely more good than a redundant organisation that is simply a symbol- one of respect and ideals on the outside but representing a dark history of colonisation on the inside.
And that brings me to my second argument- that all the Commonwealth Charter does is promote an inappropriate colonial legacy.
The British Empire was based on ruthless aggression, oppression, and exploitation. Sure they did abolish some repulsive Indian practices like Sati and gave us 'modern' education and services like the telegraph and the railways. But let us not let that cloud our thinking. We must see through their actions because NOTHING a colonising power does is ever in the better interest of the colonies.
We all know that 'Divide & Rule' was the primary strategy adopted by the British and counter-intuitive as it may seem, but the banning of Sati was also an extension of that. You may ask how that is possible.
Well, seeing how Hinduism was the most prevalent religion of the land, interfering with a widely followed practice was the political equivalent going for the jugular. And then they could claim the rescued widows as 'saved' by converting them to Christianity, causing more division in the community.
Telegraph and railways were also intended for their own communication and travel needs so they could administer better. So let us not glorify them for doing that 'for' us. They did not.
My third argument is that the Commonwealth has ceased to be of use (not that it ever had any).
Despite exalting democracy, many member states have been dictatorships- Iraq, Uganda. Members have also committed inhuman atrocities against its subjects and some have had a horrendous human rights track record.
The Commonwealth refused to place sanctions or any sort of boycott on South Africa during the Apartheid, excesses of Idi Amin went unpunished, and in spite of nations signing up, promising to uphold the ideals of the Charter, they have done what suits them anyway; and this is only because the organisation lacks enforcing or executive powers. Think of a guard dog without any teeth. It is a body that has been grossly ineffective at achieving any productive goals.
The Commonwealth is an outdated policy that honours British ideals and makes it appear that their monarch still has relevance in the world. Not only is it redundant, but it has also outlived its usefulness and merely remains a symbol of the now irrelevant British Empire. It should be refuted rather than being celebrated in a diluted form.