Abolishing something is easy; rebuilding from scratch is hard.
As a first-generation Indian New Zealander, I have been reading of the varied emotions evoked by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II over the past week.
Among the million cries of God Save The King were some murmurs of trauma caused by the old British Raj, the Kohinoor diamond, and how the Queen is someone responsible for past trauma. These very honest and raw feelings of hurt then progress to herald the need for republics and the "return" of artefacts.
As a remnant of the old British Raj, I truly sympathise with and understand the trauma caused - as I've experienced the after-effects to some degree myself. The ruthlessness of colonial rule was wrong.
Though sharing the pain is certainly a necessary step in starting conversations toward healing, I wonder if we should now take it a step further and find constructive, implementable solutions which all parties find workable.
Instead, if we continue down the narrow-sighted path of "death to the monarchy" without truly considering the alternatives, we may have a new system - but one that isn't any better, if not worse, and one with no historical premise or accountability to ensure healing to those that are hurting. It may also question agreements or treaties made by the British Crown with various groups.
Though the atrocities of the past do break my heart, unlike in the colonial systems of the Romans, Persians or other dynasties, we still have some aces we can play with our current constitutional system through the Commonwealth.
If the crowds of mourners are anything to go by, we have people from all creeds and races feeling a sense of belonging with the old imperial Queen, indicating the new King has a unique opportunity to embrace and rebuild the Commonwealth.
This means we - whether the coloniser or the colonised, the marginalised or those in power - should have the openness and willingness to work together to create a brighter future for all of us. Instead of creating newer, untested systems, I think we should first use the Commonwealth to air grievances and find winning solutions as we move forward.
With the passing of the Queen, we have a chance to carve out a new united path. We should at least give the new King a chance to see how the Commonwealth can evolve into an organisation that can facilitate openness, fairness, and the opportunity to discuss injustices.
Any grievances and righting past wrongs must be based on clear evidence, with an attempt to create a desired future and not reinvent past history based on personal biases. The Kohinoor diamond is a clear example of an emotive subject where various parties from different counties claim ownership of the jewel. Making decisions based on individual passions and versions of history can only create divisions and will not solve anything. Every change must be weighted on whether it is beneficial for the good of all in the present and the future.
Now is the time to reimagine our futures and put aside past biases to create places where everyone thrives regardless of race, creed, or economic or social standing.
Perhaps this newfound unity and forgiveness can evolve into or create a new system founded on the basis of mutual trust, respect, and dignity for all.
• Dr Sneha Jessica Gray is an expert on place and place identity.