Amid rancour for a demand to be made to the United Kingdom at a time when the royal couple Kate Middleton and Prince William were touring across the country, India showed its utmost reverence to the erstwhile rulers saying that the prized Kohinoor diamond was not forcibly taken away from India but was gifted.
The unexpected turnaround in the Centre’s stand has astonished even the judges of Supreme Court who were hearing the case in response to a PIL filed by an NGO called All India Human Rights and Social Justice Forum.
The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that the East India Company did not take away the Kohinoor diamond but it was willingly gifted away Britain by the then Sikh monarch Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who loved cricket and the British.
However, the Supreme court Bench consisting of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit , gave six more weeks to the government to return with a valid reason.
If the government, led by BJP and its leader Narendra Modi, fails to find a suitable excuse, India can never stake any claim for the return of the diamond. All the avenues of seeking Kohinoor diamond will be shut down.
The 108-carat Kohinoor diamond was confiscated by the East India Company in 1850 in Lahore, current Pakistan, after defeating Punjab rulers in the last Anglo-Sikh war.
Indian scholars believed that the Kohinoor was the ancient 5,000-year-old "Shamantak Mani" referred to in Epics including Mahabharata. Its current name was given by Nadir Shah, which means “Mountain of Light” in the Persian language.
In 1304 the diamond was passed on from the Rajas of Malwa to the then Emperor of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji. In 1306 Hindi writing, it was mentioned that, “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”
In 1339, the diamond reached the city of Samarkand, where it stayed for almost 300 years. In 1526, it was gifted by then Delhi ruler Ibrahim Lodi to Moghul ruler Babur. In his Baburnama, the ruler mentioned that the diamond values the GDP equivalent to a half-day’s production world over.
It was Aurangzeb’s grandson Mahamad, who gave it to invading Persian ruler Nadir Shah and the diamond got its immortal name of Kohinoor though its possessor Nadir Shah died when he was assassinated. The diamon paased on to his general Ahmad Shah Durrani in 1747. His descendant by name Shah Shuja Durrani brought it back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh, in return for his help to get back the throne of Afghan Empire.
In 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab, the East India Company confiscated the properties of the Sikh Empire and so the diamond Koh-i-noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore. When the diamond was sent to London, cholera broke out in the ship and the diamond was briefly stolen by one of the servants but returned later to the keeper. Finally, it was handed to Queen Victoria in July 1850.
The diamond was reshaped by a Dutch jeweler in to its current 108.93 carats. as per the will of Queen Victoria, only women Queens can wear it in the thir crown and not male rulers.