Queen to visit hotspots on tour of subcontinent

The Queen and Prince Philip today begin their tour of India and Pakistan, the first since 1983. It will be a mixture of run-of-the-mill state banquets, investitures and gestures of royal politesse with a few livelier and more unlikely items.

Next Thursday, for example, the Queen will drop in on a film set in Madras (now known as Chennai) and spend half an hour watching a Tamil language film being made.

This imaginative fixture was the idea of the film's director, Kamal Hasan, southern India's biggest film star, with 170 films to his credit. He thought the Queen might be interested in his ambitious new film, Marudanaayagam, because it concerns the adventures of an 18th century Indian rebel who fought against Robert Clive and the British, gained an understanding of their perfidious ways, dreamed of a free, united India, and perished at theend of a rope. Astonishingly, she was.

Or perhaps it is not so astonishing: there is a politically correct slant to a number of the stops on the tour, and honour will be paid to Mohamed Ali Jinnah (in Pakistan) and to Gandhi (inIndia, twice), both deep-dyed enemies of the Empire.

In India, all the interest in the royal visit has focused on the Queen's solo trip to Amritsar next Tuesday. Hers will be the first visit by a modern-day head of state to the Golden Temple, Sikhism's sanctum sanctorum, which may be the reason that she will be permitted to keep her stockings on.

The Golden Temple was the site of a bloody siege in 1984, the consequences of which included the murder of the prime minister, Indira Gandhi, by her Sikh bodyguards and the massacre of innocent Sikhs in Delhi. The temple and what happened there arestill hot issues in India, and in August the present Indian prime minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, advised the Queen to skip the place. However, the visit isgoing ahead.

While in Amritsar she will also visit JallianwallahBagh, the park where troops under British command massacred some 400demonstrators in 1919. Here, too, she will present a wreath, but is not expected to utter an apology, despite the many raucous demands that she doso.

Nor is she expected to bring the Ko-i-noor diamond in her handbag andgive it back. Not only is it firmly ensconced in the British crown jewels,but Mr Gujral, in another helpful intervention, intimated that India did notneed it.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own