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
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn