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Colston Came Down Easy, 'Clive of India' Will Be Harder To Remove

by Amitabh Joshi 10 months ago Views 1091

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Statues in Britain are moving, quite literally.

After the George Floyd protests against racism and oppression worldwide, symbols have become a target. On the heels of the uproarious pulling down of the statue of a former slave trader, Edward Colston, in Bristol on Sunday, a petition is gaining momentum to remove the statue of Lord Robert Clive from the town of Shrewsbury.


Robert Clive was the first British Governor of Bengal under the East India Company and famous for his victory in the Battle of Plassey, and infamous for his plunder of Bengal.

The petition, launched on change.org, said that “To have a statue commemorating the man that ruined a nation and held innocent people to his barbaric orders is both offensive and embarrassing. Clive as a symbol of British colonialism is significantly offensive to Indian, Bengali and south-east Asian descent and to attempt to justify it as a celebration of British pride and nationalism is only justifiable if one revels in the persecution and murder of millions of innocent people”.

The petition stated that “Clive of India”, a title by which he became known, was one of the key figures of the British imperial domination of India.

“Just because a figure is historical, that doesn’t make him good. He is nothing more than a figure of oppression and white supremacy that has, whether consciously or not, been celebrated and commemorated in Shrewsbury town centre for hundreds of years,” the petition added.

The plea has come up against an unsympathetic response. “We honour and celebrate those who helped establish this empire. They are part of our history and should be treated with respect and dignity. I know some people will want to eradicate all traces of the British Empire, but I’ve seen huge pluses of things it did around the world,” said local Shrewsbury MP, Daniel Kawczynski. He did, however, call for a peaceful discussion on the issue and promised some ‘research’.

Until then, the statue of Robert Clive remains unmoved by all the fuss around it.

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