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LETTER: Figure respected by some for his work on reform

Readers' letters | Published:

A reader questions the call to tear down certain monuments.

Clive of India - statue in Shrewsbury Square

Iconoclasm and the desecration of monuments is a common feature of political and social systems which have temporarily fallen into the hands of psychotic individuals, whose actions are driven by rage, prejudice and willfully ignorant ideas. In our Civil War we had the desecration of monuments, paintings and statues everywhere, often on grounds which had nothing to do with religion or monarchy and everything to do with the aggressive anger of sexually repressed or deviant demagogues. The same thing happened in the Spanish Civil War.

Wanting to tear down the memorial statues to Lord Clive in Shrewsbury and London, is a case in point.

Its an established fact that the achievements of Clive are respected in India, especially by professional Indian historians. He is seen as someone who reformed the formerly inept and larcenous practices of the East India Company. Clive is widely regarded as the founder and instigator of the Rule of Law and with it, sound, responsible government which led eventually to the Unification of India and is the foundation of India's greatness today. Clive did this, largely unsupported by his superiors, by his own military and political genius…in standing up to the corrupt, chaotic and decadent rule of the out of control satraps of the Mughal Empire in decline, who had turned India into a mass of warring, mis-governed and looted states.

The reasons given for wanting to tear down the Clive monuments do not stand up to a minute's analysis. They appear in your piece to be largely based on the disputed facts (unacknowledged), half-truths and un- evidenced character assassinating attacks against Robert Clive's character, contained in the work of William Dalrymple.

The ‘responsibility’ of Clive for the ‘Bengal Famine’ is very much in dispute. The origins of the famine lay in the corrupt administrative practices of the Mughal Empire.

It is a fact that Indian leaders and people, recognised the importance of Robert Clive’s services to their nascent country and themselves insisted on rewarding him, for them.

James Buber, Ludlow

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