Sunday 30 November 2008

V. P. Singh passes away
Vishwanath Pratap Singh (Hindi: विश्वनाथ प्रताप सिंह), India’s tenth prime minister, had been fighting against leukemia since 1991. On 27th November 2008 he lost the fight and passed away at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital in Delhi, India. His close associate Wasim Ahmad said: "The end came at 2.45 PM.” Singh leaves behind his wife Sita Kumari and two sons Ajeya Singh and Abhay Singh. Though his term in office was short (5th Dec. 1989 to 10th Nov. 1990) he was regarded as one of the most honest and socially oriented politicians the Indian union ever has had as leader.

You may ask, why does this blog, which is dedicated to Monarchy and royal families, commemorate an Indian politician? Answer: Because he was an Indian Royal!

Born on June 25th, 1931 at Allahabad, Shri V. P. Singh was the son of Raja Bahadur Ram Gopal Singh. In 1936 he was adopted by the then Raja of Manda, Bhagwati Prasad Singh of Daiya, a Gaharwar Rajput and head of a princely estate near Allahabad.
He ascended to the throne as 40th Raja of Manda in 1941 on the death of his adoptive father and according to Indian Royalists, he remained Raja of Manda until his death in November (see scan):

He was educated at Allahabad and Poona Universities. He was married to Smt. Sita Kumari on June 25, 1955 and they had two sons. A scholarly man, he was the proud founder of Gopal Vidyalaya, Intermediate College, Koraon, Allahabad. He was the President of the Students Union at Udai Pratap College, Varanasi in 1947-48 and was the Vice-President, Allahabad University Students Union. He actively participated in Bhoodan movement in 1957 and donated a well-established farm in village Pasna, District Allahabad.

A politician with a mission to help the Indian poor
In an obituary published in The Age on 29th November 2008, there was no mention of his royal descend, that would not have fitted into the republican policy of The Age. What value does an obituary have that suppresses important parts of the deceased's life? However Melbourne’s daily newspaper gave praise to the former Indian prime minister's policy: “… He won kudos for championing the rights of the caste-conscious country’s poor, as well as the minority Muslim population.” Popularly known as the 'Mandal messiah', he pulled out the long forgotton B.P. Mandal Commission's report from a dusty government almirah and went on to implement its recommendations, giving 27 percent job reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs). The middle class, whose support first catapulted V. P. Singh to power as he campaigned against corruption in the Bofors gun deal, loved to hate him, and did not forgive him till the end. The Raja of Manda’s coalition government came to an end, when the support of the BJP-Hindu nationalists was withdrawn in 1990 and he no longer had a majority in the Lok Sabha (Indian House of Commons).

After his downfall he turned towards painting and writing poetry. On his own website he explained his turn towards the arts:

“The visual always fascinated me. As I grew up, I slowly realized that we not only see through our eyes, but also from the heart. Feeling is living. Beauty is Understanding. I was overwhelmed by the harmony of creation. My youth was one rapturous communion with nature. The ecstasy is gone but fragments of its memory, still, at times, shimmer, to give a sudden insight. My paintings are such fragments. Yes, they are fragments because my life is so.”

Indian Royalty play an important part in the country's politics

V. P. Singh was only one of many members of Indian Royal Families who entered politics. In 2004, my favourite Indian newspaper, The Hindu, published an article by Vinay Kumar on this phenomenon.

"More than three decades after [Indian Royalty] were stripped of their royal privileges by Indira Gandhi, they still continue to dominate public life, in some way or the other.

"With elections round the corner, former Rajas, Mahants and Nawabs are all set to enliven the poll arena in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh. They are jumping into the electoral fray for various reasons: some of them see this as a way of protecting whatever remains of their royal legacies; others see it as a way to further their political careers. But the fact is that they are here to stay.

"It was from this belt that V.P. Singh, the Raja of Manda, emerged to occupy the office of the Prime Minister. He is not the only one to have made it big in politics — there have been others such as the former Raja of Kalakanker, the late Dinesh Singh, elected from the adjoining Pratapgarh parliamentary constituency, who served as a Union Minister during the Congress regime. His daughter, Rajkumari Ratna Singh, represented the same constituency in the Lok Sabha in 1996 and in 1999. In 1991, Abhai Pratap Singh, better known as Bade Raja of Pratapgarh, won the seat on a Janata Dal ticket. His father, Ajit Pratap Singh, won from here in 1962 and 1980. Truth to tell, royals have always dominated the electoral scene in Pratapgarh. Yet another scion of Pratapgarh's ruling family, Vijay Bhushan Singh alias Babbu Raja, has also unsuccessfully contested the Assembly polls.

"'There was a time when royals built schools and shelters for the people and opened their granaries to them in times of crisis. In due course, several of them entered politics and won elections purely because they were so respected. But that is no longer the case; politics is no longer a noble profession. It is only a means to advance one's own interests,' says Raja Bhaiyya, who hails from the royal family of Bhadri and became an MLA from Kunda in 1993."

Friday 28 November 2008

The Prince and his critic - who is the real kink?
Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper The Australian rides in with a new attack on Prince Charles. This time it is Frank Devine who decrees Kinky King Charlie to get our republic across the line. “When Prince Charles turned 60 on November 14 he expressed a wish to speak out on public issues when he becomes king. Since Charles has a lot of kinky green convictions and almost Keatingesque views on architecture and urban planning, this gives one pause. … Whose public issues does he plan to speak out on? I suppose English issues will be OK within reason, and maybe Welsh ones, since he has put in a long stint as prince of this fading rugby power. But no English king in his right mind would speak out on Scottish issues, such as devolution or Sean Connery …

What did The Prince of Wales actually say? Devine leaves us in the dark and doesn’t go into details. In a BBC documentary broadcast on the occasion of his 60th birthday the following sentences, which could have led Frank Devine to his conclusions, were said according to British media: “He conceded that many people thought that he 'meddled' in issues but he preferred to call it "convening power" by bringing together people who could change things.

Asked whether he would continue to be outspoken on big issues such as the environment when he succeeded to the throne, he said: "I don't know, I don't know - probably not the same way. But I like to think perhaps that after all this, eventually people might realise that some of the things I've been trying to do aren't all that mad and that I might still have some 'convening power' that could be put to use.

How could Frank Devine interpret these statements as a will for political interferece he seems to fear so much?

Or was it Mr. Busybody aka Jonathan Dimbleby who claimed in The Daily Telegraph: “The Prince will break with the tradition which has seen monarchs, including the Queen, remain publicly silent on matters of national and international importance.” There is nothing that would justify Frank Devine’s assumption, that as King of Australia Prince Charles would be a partisan Monarch. Jonathan Dimbleby is a book author who uses every microphone, every TV camera to put himself in the limelight. Since when is he a senior political analyst or advisor to The Prince of Wales? For Frank Devine he must be his master’s voice.

However, the first lines of Devine’s opinion piece show the direction of his attack and give us a clue to what the real worry of Frank Devine and his media moghul were. Devine accuses Prince Charles of “kinky green convictions and almost Keatingesque views on architecture and urban planning

Prince Charles is passionate about fighting climate change. To describe his worries as kinky can only come from someone who believes, Kevin Rudd could be successful in reducing Australia’s carbon dioxide emissions. Prince Charles is strongly against genetically manipulated (GM) crops – as far as I can see, this subject is heavily discussed in Australia as well. The Murdoch paper’s are not in the forefront to stop GM crops. Why not listen to what the Prince has to say, before you ridicule him as kinky? This goes hand in hand with Prince Charles’ organic farming and his new agricultural methods, which could only help Australian farmers to tackle climate change and preserve export markets. True, Prince Charles has not love lost for modern architecture, but who really has besides the professionals?

Devine therefore hopes: “So tenuous is monarchism's grip on Australians that the personal popularity of the throne's incumbent will probably have a major influence on our deciding whether we want any more of the kings and queens stuff.” Fortunately it will not be the editorialists of this country who decide about the Monarchy and King Charles, but the Australian people. However, the millionaires are eager to put one of their mates on a presidential chair.

After all, who is Frank Devine?
According to his own website he has been employed by a variety of Murdoch media for a long time. Green Left is not very happy about their republican, heavily pro-nuclear power comrade in arms: “Frank Devine, the right-wing journalist from the Australian newspaper, gave a rant about press reporting of nuclear issues and the Luddite zombies, frauds and zealots in the anti-nuclear movement. Undoubtedly the highlight of the conference was seeing Devine fall off the stage after giving his talk.”

On the other hand, ultra pro-big business republicans like Gerald Henderson of The Sydney Institute praised a fellow conservative: “Once upon a time there were few, if any, conservative voices in the Australian media. Not any more. Now there is a plethora of political conservatives. To name names – Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, Frank Devine, Miranda Devine, P.P. McGuinness, Christopher Pearson, Paul Sheehan, Imre Salusinsky."

The Prince of Wales is ahead of his time, but people realize that his ideas are a welcome contribution to the pressing problems of our time. Conservatives hate him for that and progressive people shy away from accepting him as a useful ally. This will not stop him to speak out. And we need his voice loud and clear.

Thursday 27 November 2008

Australian plants for The Prince of Wales
With a very successful and well attended luncheon the Australian Monarchist League (AML) celebrated the 60th birthday of The Prince of Wales in Sydney. The AML presented the future King of Australia Wollemi Pines as their birthday gift. The Prince of Wales will plant them at Highgrove.

The Wollemi Pine was discovered in 1994 and there are only about 40 of them in the wild (some accounts say 80 adult pine). Up to its discovery it was known only from fossils records and it was thought to have become extinct 65 million years ago. It only occurs in one deep sandstone gorge in the Wollemi National Park.

Since The Prince of Wales was so pleased with the Australian gift, the AML decided to include a number of Australian Dicksonia Antarctica ferns as well. Philip Benwell: “A decision was therefore made to gift to Prince Charles sixty ferns.” These will be delivered to Highgrove in March 2009 for planting. The Dicksonia Antarctica, known as the Soft Tree Fern, Man Fern or Tasmanian Tree Fern is an evergreen tree fern native to parts of Australia, namely Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria.

The fern can grow to 15 m in height, but more typically grow about 4.5 to 5 m. The large, dark green, roughly-textured fronds spread in a canopy of two to six m in diameter. The shapes of the stems vary as some grow curved and there are multi-headed ones. The fonds are borne in flushes, with fertile and sterile fronds often in alternating layers.

To raise money for the purchase of the gift, the AML started a special ‘Prince of Wales’ raffle, which will include a print of one of Prince Charles’ paintings. Raffles tickets are sold at $ 5.00. Should you be interested in buying raffle tickets, please contact the League’s National Chairman

Saturday 15 November 2008

A popular King
An opinion poll shows The Prince of Wales would now make a more popular King than Prince William.

Prince Charles's 60th birthday presents
Choosing a 60th birthday present for a man who has everything is always difficult but in the case of the Prince of Wales the answer is simple: buy him a shrub. Read more here.

Plants, shrubs, and trees for his garden at Highgrove will be the most gratefully received gift for the Prince who yesterday received a cake in the shape of a bus pass. After his 60th birthday yesterday the Prince is entitled to travel free on off-peak local bus services anywhere in England. His face was embossed on the pass.

The Prince and Duchess of Cornwall spent most of yesterday visiting projects linked to his charity the Prince's Trust which has helped hundreds of thousands of young people into work over the last 30 years.

He attended the launch of the trust's first Youth Week to highlight the good that young people can do in society. He smiled when Naiyer Qureshi, a life coach, broke protocol, stepped forward and planted a kiss on his right cheek during his tour of two trust projects in Beckton, east London.

As part of his campaign, 50 MPs across the UK will be shadowed during their constituency visits by young volunteers whose life has been turned around by the Trust. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, is supporting the project. The Trust has forged an alliance with 14 other national youth organisations, including the NSPCC and Barnardo's, to counter negative stereotypes of young people. Premiership football stars, including Rio Ferdinand, will visit Trust projects.

The Prince posed for pictures in front of dozens of photographers who called out to him. The Prince barely raised a smile and then made a barbed joke at the press, saying: "Sixty years of trying my patience," which made them laugh.
The French view

Clip de présentation de l'Alliance Royale


, French Royalists of the Alliance Royale present an alternative view for France.

Friday 14 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Your Royal Highness!
So, nobody is interested? Another claim made by Australian republicans falls into pieces. Articles published on Prince Charles’ 60th birthday are among the most demanded. This afternoon, when I checked The Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age websites for articles on the heir to the Australian throne I discovered they rated second in both lists of Readers' most viewed news items. It seems, people are interested in His Royal Highness’ life and birthday celebrations.

News agencies reported on a documentary that was produced for his birthday:

But he sounded philosophical about his position as he reflected on his landmark birthday.

"It is all in the hands of the good Lord as to whether I survive or am vaguely compos mentis," he told a BBC documentary to mark his birthday.

"Our life is so short and insignificant in the great scheme of things."

Asked if he enjoyed his role, he replied: "I don't know."

"Well, there's bits of it," he added.

"It is something that I feel I must do to help as many other people as I possibly can and this country."

Commentators dismiss suggestions he is frustrated, noting that he has found personal happiness after marrying long-time companion Camilla Parker Bowles in 2005 and focusing on his extensive charity work.

"Commentators dismiss suggestions he is frustrated."
Well, not all. Rupert Murdoch's newspaper The Australian loved to interpret the heir’s philosophic thoughts in a different way. On the eve of his 60th birthday, Prince Charles has revealed that he enjoys only "bits" of his job, but does it because he feels that he must.

The Prince of Wales has initiated 20 charitable organisations “from Glasgow to Kabul”. Isn’t he allowed to ask what will happen to these organisations that have helped hundreds of thousands of people since they were founded? It would be irrisponsible not to worry about their future. As King he will no longer be allowed to run the charities. His constitutional position as Monarch forbids any kind of fundraising for his own projects.

Once again it was his honesty that was used against Prince Charles. Asked if enjoyed his role he replied: “I don’t know. Well, there’s bits of it.” A politician would have said in a loud voice: “Yes, of course, I do love my job and I am happy to do it”, even if in his/her mind s/he thinks differently. Politicians must give the impression to enjoy what they are doing. Spin doctors would never advise a philosophical attitude as Prince Charles is used to show. I leave it to you to decide which attitude is more honest.

I am glad The Prince of Wales speaks out for his charitable causes and the environmental topics that are dear to him (and to me). Happy birthday, Your Royal Highness!!!

Thursday 13 November 2008

Prince Charles' 60th Birthday and the Australian media - Part II
Do you expect the Australian television networks to broadcast a programme to honour the 60th birthay of The Prince of Wales?

I haven't found anything that could indicate that the next King of Australia's charity work or his dedication for the environment would get a mention on 14th November.

What about asking the ABC about Prince Charles' birthday programme? Write to the ABC

Again the German broadcasting system ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) has a documentary that is not only broadcast today, but it is also available on the internet.

Just click here and enjoy the 30 minutes on The Prince of Wales' life. Of course it is free of charge.

By the way, ZDF offers a video on Her Majesty the Queen as well. The 43-minutes documentary can be watched by clicking here.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Brown, Republican
As a republican Senator Bob Brown knows how to use symbols. He launched his latest initiative to enforce a vote on whether Australia should be a Constitutional Monarchy or “a” republic on 11th November, hence on the 33rd anniversary of Governor-General Sir John Kerr’s dismissal of the Whitlam government. Republicans love to see the 11th November 1975 as their starting point. But their marathon run is far from close to the finish.

Greens Senator Bob Brown will today introduce legislation to enable a vote at the next federal election on whether Australia should become a republic", reported the ABC from the nation’s second chamber. "’This is a bill to have a plebiscite with the next election in 2010 to ask people whether they want a republic - yes or no,’ he said” according to the ABC. Neither Senator Brown nor the ABC said that the so-called plebiscite has no meaning at all. The only way to change the Australian Constitution is a referendum with a majority of the popular vote as well as the majority of the states approving the change.

Bob Brown certainly has merits and on other topics I agree with him, but I would appreciate if he and the Greens would concentrate on more important issues, like the climate change, a better use of water, a functioning public transport system worth this name, the avoidance and re-use of waste etc. Aren’t these fields not wide and challenging enough? If these issues are dear to you, wouldn't you look for like-minded allies?

"This is a thing about values and how we value our nation,” Brown said. Has he spared a moment about the values of the Constitutional Monarchy? Has he thought about the good examples members of the Australian Royal Family set? I am sure, he and Prince Charles have many things in common and they could enjoy long discussions on all subjects that are dear to the green soul. The whole nature of Monarchy is about endurance and sustainability. The Monarchy leads back many generations and encourages to think in generations to come, and not only to the next election day.

I am not afraid of the peope’s vote, I am angry that once again money should be spent on “a” republic, while the money could be spent for far better projects, especially in environmental hot spots. The republic discussion diverts the attention from these important issues.

I would very much like to know, what the Aussie republicans will do, when the Australian people will once again say NO! to their plans. Will they give in or will they push for more votes until their aim is achieved?

It is a pity the republicans force the tax payer to finance their ambitions, but after all, that’s exactly, what politicians always do: Spend our money. The Queen of Australia doesn’t cost the Australian taxpayer a cent. The next NO! to the politicians republic should settle the matter.

Let’s come back to the symbol of 11th November. It was also Armistice Day in 1918 and marked the defeat of Germany and her allies. Could be a symbol you aren’t after, Bob.

Friday 7 November 2008

Affirmation Day 6 November
David Flint had the idea to name the 6th November 1999, the day the Australian people were asked if they wanted a politicians’ republic Affirmation Day. “On 6 November 2008, constitutional monarchists celebrated Affirmation Day, when nine years ago, the people of Australia in all states affirmed their wish to remain united in an indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown.

Republicans claim the question was "too difficult". Today it may be appropriate to come back to the question and the referendum results:

6 November 1999
Establishment of Republic
Question 1

A Proposed Law: To alter the Constitution to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

Constitution Alteration (Establishment of Republic) 1999 sought to establish the Commonwealth of Australia as a republic with the Queen and Governor-General being replaced by a President appointed by a two-thirds majority of the members of the Commonwealth Parliament.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

Rupert Murdoch lectures
Rupert Murdoch lectured the Australians about “a” republic – again. In the Boyer Lecture he gave on 2nd November 2008 he made a confession that surprised nobody: “… if I were in a position to vote, it would be for a republic”. Well, Rupert, you are not in such a position! Go and vote for a US president. Or better: Go and sort out a proper electoral system in the country you call home! Or are you proud of the acknowledged "voting technology failures (that) are so widespread in the US" as reported here?

He is silly enough to advocate “a” republic, because “we should be independent”. We? Why we? Has he become an Australian citizen again? In the same breath he advocates Australia becoming a member of NATO. Murdoch: “Though NATO was designed to prevent a land war in Europe, it is now fighting well beyond its borders.” And he wants Australia being dragged into this mess? Is he not aware what NATO stands for? North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Has he looked at the globe recently? Australia does not lie in the Atlantic, and particularly not in the Northern hemisphere. Who are the head guys in NATO?

It is hardly the Queen as the Australian sovereign who leads our soldiers into war.

The question is not if Australia should become a republic. The question is if Australia should have a Monarch or a Murdoch sponsored head of state.

Sunday 2 November 2008

70th Birthday of Queen Sofía of Spain

On 2nd November Queen Sofía of Spain celebrates her 70th birthday. She was born Princess Margarita Victoria Friederika of Greece and Denmark almost exactly three years to the day after Greece had voted in a referendum to restore the Monarchy (3rd November 1935).
King George II of the Hellenes had returned after 12 years in exile, but he and his Romanian born wife Queen Elisabeth had no children, therefore Princess Sophia’s father was Crown Prince of Greece. In 1947 he ascended to the Greek throne as King Pavlos I. When she was born in 1938 Princess Sophia was second in line to the Greek throne until the birth of her brother Konstantinos on 2nd June 1940. He succeeded his father in March 1964 as King Constantine II of the Hellenes.

Drawing of the young Princess Sophia for Admiral Stavridis

The Greek Royal Family was again forced into exile in 1941, when German and Italian troops invaded the Kingdom. The Royal Greek Army fought bravely against the powerful enemies, but they could not prevent the occupation. In an adventurous escape Crown Princess Frederika and her two children fled first to the island of Crete, then to Egypt and finally to South Africa, where the family stayed until in 1946 another referendum affirmed the Monarchy in Greece.

Princess Sophia with Greek peasants

During the Greek civil war and the years of reconstruction in the 1950s Princess Sophia fulfilled her duties as a member of the Greek Royal Family.

King Pavlos and his son, Crown Prince Konstantinos, held the crowns above the heads of the royal couple during the wedding ceremony in Athens.

On 14th May 1962 she married Prince Juan Carlos of Borbón y Borbón in a colourful ceremony in Athens. Between 1963 and 1968 the couple had three children: Infanta Elena (* 20th December 1963), Infanta Cristina (* 13th June 1965) and the heir to the Spanish throne, Infant Felipe (* 30th January 1968).

After General Franco’s death Prince Juan Carlos was proclaimed King of Spain and the return of the Monarchy, which had been approved in a referendum in 1947, was completed in November 1975. A new democratic constitution was drawn up and accepted by the Spanish people in a referendum. In the difficult years of the renewed Monarchy as well as democracy and with various attempted coups by adherents of the old regime Queen Sofía was at her husband’s side to encourage and inspire him.

When celebrating his 30th anniversary on the Spanish throne, King Juan Carlos thanked Queen Sofía "for her constant support, sensitivity and commitment”.

On her 70th Birthday, the huge majority of the Spanish people [plus myself] will cherish their Queen and wish her a long life at the side of her husband, King Juan Carlos I.
Prince Charles visits Indonesia at a time Australian media await the death of the Bali bombers
While the Australian media eagerly wait for the execution of the Bali bombers, Prince Charles has arrived in Indonesia. The heir to the Australian throne will visit rainforest conservation work on Sumatra island before travelling to Jakarta to meet Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Prince Charles will also travel to Yogyakarta on Java island to meet the city's hereditary Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. Recently Indonesian Monarchists defended his institution against republican attacks.

Local media reported heightened security around Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma airbase in the lead-up to his visit, which comes as Indonesia prepares to execute three Islamist militants behind 2002 bombings on Bali island that killed more than 200 people, 88 of them Australian. Authorities in Indonesia are guarding against a possible violent backlash by supporters of the bombers.

Australia’s next King took up the initiative and set up the Prince’s Rainforest Project. You can sign up here and receive his newsletter. Prince Charles has a special interest in the SE Asian/Oceanean region. His visit to Indonesia is an example how he gets first hand information and promote his ideas.

A pity, he is so close to Australia, but our politicians did not invite him to come downunder and explain his Rainforest Project. But I am sure to find nasty comments in this country's media. For instance “Melbourne-based republican and a commentator on royalty” Barry Everingham will find it appalling that the heir to the throne missed Australia. He will of course not write immediately, but will wait until a British tabloid had reported on Prince Charles' visit to Indonesia, then and only then will “Melbourne personality and columnist Barry Everingham” publish his nasty remarks in the HeraldSun or may be in The Age, which is always open to republican prejudice.

I am sure the Australian republicans will blame the Prince for not touching Australian soil, as if Prince Charles would have refused an Australian invitation. In a Constitutional Monarchy like Australia, the Prince of Wales acts on the advice of His mother's Australian government's advice.