Alpesh Patel’s Political Sketchbook: Wishing the King Well

Alpesh Patel Wednesday 07th February 2024 05:22 EST

The recent news about the King being diagnosed with cancer has profoundly impacted not only the nation but also the international community. It's a moment that brings to light the deeply human aspect behind the regal façade, reminding us all of the vulnerabilities that bind us irrespective of status or position.

 At the heart of the overwhelming support for the King is a testament to our shared humanity. Illness, especially of such a serious nature, is a universal equalizer that underscores our inherent vulnerability. The King's diagnosis has elicited a spontaneous outpouring of well-wishes and prayers from people of all walks of life, reflecting a commonality of human experience that often goes unacknowledged in the stratified society.

 But from Prince to pauper, what of the children in Gaza, or Syria, Iraq, the Israelis in the news and the new famine in Ethiopia? We, other than the most bitter and extreme, wish them all well, we are as helpless to do more than pray. Unless we are the King’s physician or the commander of Hamas, or the UK International Development Minister.

 In the United Kingdom, a country marked by its rich tapestry of cultures and faiths, the response to the King's illness has been notably unified. This unity is particularly remarkable given the country's current sociopolitical climate, which is often characterized by division and debate over issues ranging from Brexit to social policies. Yet, in this moment of adversity, the public, political figures, and media outlets have set aside their differences to stand in solidarity with the monarchy.

 It is a reminder, there will always be minorities with extreme views, but they are not he one’s to be given airtime or focus. Unless you’re a media outlet obsessed with ‘fair and balanced’ in which case doubtless you will do broadcasts from anti-monarchists at the same time.

 The support for the King transcends political affiliations and social classes, illustrating the monarchy's role as a unifying symbol in British society. It is a clear demonstration of the deep respect and affection that the people hold for the King, who has dedicated much of his life to public service and environmental advocacy. This collective rallying around the King in his time of need reaffirms the monarchy's relevance in contemporary Britain, serving as a source of stability and continuity amidst change.

 The international reaction has similarly been one of compassion and solidarity, with leaders and citizens from around the world sending their well-wishes. This global outpouring of support underscores the universal values of empathy and kindness that transcend national borders and political divides. It also highlights the King's international stature and the respect he commands on the world stage, both as a head of state and as a proponent of global environmental and social causes.

 The response from various faith communities within the UK has been particularly poignant. Religious leaders and followers across the spectrum have offered prayers and messages of hope, showcasing the powerful role that faith can play in providing comfort and fostering unity in times of crisis. This ecumenical support not only reflects the multicultural and multi-faith fabric of British society but also the capacity for faith to bring people together in compassion and empathy.

 As President of the India League and Chairman of the City Hindus Network, I am proud to be able to speak for those organisations and the membership to offer our well wishes to the King.

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