Ignorant as I still am, I did not know anything about the Commonwealth until today. I was, at first, surprised when I read, “India picks three more gold”, but that surprise went poof after I read, India won 69 medals, including 30 gold, in the last Commonwealth Games in Manchester, in the same news article.
That’s when I realized; I know nothing about the Commonwealth, who makes up the Commonwealth, and why India was doing so well at these games. Well, I did not have to look very far, a glance to the side bar, and there was the answer, Guide to the Commonwealth
So here are some key details about the Commonwealth:
- It was founded in 1931 and formerly known as “British Commonwealth of Nations”
- It is a loose association of former British colonies, dependencies and other territories – and Mozambique, which has no historical ties to Britain.
- It consists of 53 nations.
- It was after India’s and Pakistan’s independence in 1947, that the word British was dropped, and became a group of decolonized nations.
- The leader of this group is the British Monarch, which would be Queen Elizabeth II
- There is no constitution or charter, but the heads of state of the member nations meet every two years
- London based Secretariat is the executive arm and manages the group in between summits.
- The Commonwealth games are held every four years, and the participants are from the member states.
- Zimbabwe was suspended in March 2002, and this lead to Zimbabwe leaving the Commonwealth—good for them!
Basically it’s a post colonial club, and unlike NATO, has little influence or powers over non member states. My question is why is India part of this group? Now that I know more, and being the grandson of an INA freedom fighter, I am furious that we are a part of this club of post colonials. Being a part of the commonwealth, is a slap-in-the-face of the people who fought and sacrificed for our Independence.
Can you believe we are part of a club where the British Monarch is the Leader? Ridiculous!! I feel it’s time we left the Commonwealth for good, what do you think?