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Who is Maya Jasanoff? Harvard Professor slammed for NYT piece saying Lord Mountbatten killing was ‘karmic’

Maya Jasanoff who said, 'We should not romanticize her era', has been slammed by users who said, 'To publish that today is classless and petty'
UPDATED SEP 11, 2022
Maya Jasanoff (L) in her latest story spoke about Queen Elizabeth II and her cousin Lord Mountbatten (Center for European Studies at Harvard University, Keystone/Hulton Archive and Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images)
Maya Jasanoff (L) in her latest story spoke about Queen Elizabeth II and her cousin Lord Mountbatten (Center for European Studies at Harvard University, Keystone/Hulton Archive and Stuart C Wilson/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND: A professor of history at Harvard University, Maya Jasanoff, has been slammed for her latest piece in The New York Times, titled 'Mourn the Queen, Not Her Empire.' She said that "the queen helped obscure a bloody history of decolonization," and also mentioned the murder of Queen Elizabeth II’s cousin Lord Mountbatten by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) as "karmic."

The article in New York Times stated that the Queen’s presence in life was a “fixture of stability.” The professor wrote, “By design as much as by the accident of her long life, her presence as head of state and head of the Commonwealth, an association of Britain and its former colonies, put a stolid traditionalist front over decades of violent upheaval. As such, the queen helped obscure a bloody history of decolonization whose proportions and legacies have yet to be adequately acknowledged." She also pointed out that months after the Queen got to know about her father’s death, British colonial authorities in Kenya suppressed a rebellion against the colonial regime known as Mau Mau, "under which the British rounded up tens of thousands of Kenyans into detention camps and subjected them to brutal, systematized torture." 


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Bashing the piece on Twitter, one wrote, "To publish that today is classless and petty. An era of class and grace is gone today. We can only dream of a life half as full of hers." Another said, "This opinion is stupid and the person speaking it is stupid and the newspaper stupid too. I’m really bored of stupid people and institutions." One more individual commented by saying, "There is a time and place for such critique. Unfortunately, it seems the @NYTimes doesn’t have the wisdom to know when to say what."




Lord Louis Mountbatten's assassination by IRA

Talking about Lord Mountbatten's death, Jasanoff wrote, "In a karmic turn, the Irish Republican Army assassinated the queen’s relative Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last viceroy of India (and the architect of Elizabeth’s marriage to his nephew, Prince Philip), in 1979." She further added, "We may never learn what the queen did or didn’t know about the crimes committed in her name. (What transpires in the sovereign’s weekly meetings with the prime minister remains a black box at the center of the British state.) Her subjects haven’t necessarily gotten the full story, either. Colonial officials destroyed many records that, according to a dispatch from the secretary of state for the colonies, might embarrass Her Majesty’s government and deliberately concealed others in a secret archive whose existence was revealed only in 2011."

Who is Maya Jasanoff?

Jasanoff is the author of three prize-winning books, ‘The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World’ in 2017, ‘Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World' in 2011, and 'Edge of Empire: Lives, Culture, and Conquest in the East' in 2005. Jasanoff has been a Guggenheim Fellow (2013), a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, a Kluge Chair at the Library of Congress, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Study. She has participated in several BBC documentaries, as per Harvard University. She is also the chair of judges for the 2021 Booker Prize and is a frequent contributor to American and British newspapers and magazines.