In 1851, the Great Exhibition was held in London. Countries from around the world attended to showcase their treasures. Britain had those of their colonies displayed. At the center of the Crystal Palace (or ‘Great Shalimar’) was Britain’s crown jewel: the British East India Company’s India Exhibit.
2 perspectives, 2 sides to the coin:
Bloodhounds follow the scent of fresh prey, And my sharp nose sure led me straight. Hindustan, jewels spices perfumes and cloth, Our coffers do not hesitate. The Indian tribe has it twisted, Harvesting riches by many for few. They’ve got it all backwards. I’ll go, bring their goods, Promulgate them for all of you. Hand-stitched embroidery spanning years, Our factories in minutes will churn, We’ll anglicize patterns. Switch up names. Damn culture, there’s nickels to earn. So come one, come all! To our World Fair, Here’s India splayed on a stage, Paisley, Cashmere, Pashmina shawls, All British now, yes. All the rage!
They say “crown jewel”, We are to them, And perhaps it is so, But is this glory, If we must Our Kohinoor forego? Tent eight times bigger Than the rest, Twelve million eyes now know, Stuffed elephant, Ivory throne, The sparkly bits to show. But half my brethren, On my boat, Died ‘fore we reached this shore. For a Tent not even in our name. East India Co. cargo.
Bio: Soumya Nimmu, is in her last year at BU earning degrees in International Relations and Economics with a minor from the Questrom School of Business. Apart from growing her passions of singing and writing, she aspires to become more connected and invested in the diverse stories of our communities and contribute to creating a better place through the little moments every day.