The “elite” of India after independence were largely those who had been collaborators of the British. The Thapar clan, including Karan and Romila Thapar, exemplifies that. The British rewarded collaborators who seized the properties of freedom fighters. We’ve been ruled by the sepoys.
“Born in 1855, Karan Thapar’s paternal grandfather was Diwan Bahadur Kunj Behari Thapar of Lahore. He belonged to a section of the Punjabi elite that came into new wealth as commission agents for the British.
Kunj Behari Thapar was also one of four people, including Umar Hayat Khan, Chaudhary Gajjan Singh, and Rai Bahadur Lal Chand, who donated Rs 1.75 lakh to the fund of Punjab governor Sir Michael O’Dwyer — the man who backed the actions of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer during the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.
Kunj Behari Thapar was also awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1920 for his loyalty.”
P Chidambaram’s maternal grandfather Annamalai Chettiar got the following for valuable services rendered to the Crown:
- Title of Diwan Bahadur by King George V
- Knighthood in June 1923
- Title of hereditary Raja of Chettinad in 1929
- Ambashankar Setalvad (1782–1853) worked for the East India Company
- Harilal Ambashankar Setalvad (1821–1899) was awarded the title of Rao Sahib by the British
- Sir’ Chimanlal Harilal Setalvad (1864–1947) was one of the members of the Hunter Commission that gave ‘clean chit’ to Reginald Dyer for the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919. He was given the title of ‘Sir’ in 1919 & appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1924. He was also a close friend of Jawaharlal Nehru.
- Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad (1884–1974) was India’s first & longest-serving Attorney General (1950–1963).
- Atul Motilal Setalvad (1933–2010) was a left-leaning liberal Mumbai-based lawyer.
- Teesta Atul Setalvad (1962–) is a journalist cum activist and married Javed Anand who is also an activist-cum-journalist.