The death of Queen Elizabeth II has reignited calls for the return of the Kohinoor diamond, which was ceded to Queen Victoria after the British annexation of Punjab in 1849. Following Queen’s demise, her son Prince Charles became the new British monarch. The 105-carat diamond will be given to his wife, Camilla, who is now the Queen Consort.
Kohinoor which means “Mountain of Light,” was discovered in southern India during the 14th century. It’s the subject of a dispute between various countries. At least four nations, including India, claim ownership of the diamond.
While some people on Twitter demanded its return quite seriously others had a humorous take on the issue.
Netizens demand return of Kohinoor
A video posted on Twitter shows Hrithik Roshan dressed as the Queen of England, one of his characters in Dhoom 2 where he was stealing a diamond from a moving train. “Hrithik Roshan on the way to get back our heera, moti; Kohinoor from the British Museum to India” the user posted.
Another user Asish Razzaq posted a message expressing his grief over the queen’s death. He wondered if the Kohinoor diamond would ever be returned. According to the Archaeological Survey of India, the diamond was given to the Queen of England by the Maharaja of Lahore.
The Indian government, in its Supreme Court arguments, stated that the diamond was neither stolen nor given to East India Company by the British. It was allegedly given to the company by former rulers of Punjab. Shashi Tharoor noted that it was once touted to be the world’s largest diamond, weighing 793 carats or 158.6 grams
Why Kohinoor is regarded as such a prized possession
It’s believed that the diamond was first mined in Guntur in India during the 13th century by the Kakatiya dynasty. Due to its size, the original 158-ct. diamond has been whittled down to 105-ct. over the centuries.
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The diamond traversed through the Mughal empire and eventually Afghanistan, where it was given to a Persian invader known as Nadir Shah.
It’s believed that the diamond was named Kohinoor by the Persian invader. It then traveled through various dynasties before it eventually came back to India to embellish Punjab emperor Ranjit Singh’s crown in 1809. The diamond eventually was taken by the British colonizers after annexing Ranjit Singh’s kingdom.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor believes Kohinoor in the coloniser’s land will remain evidence of the loot, plunder, and misappropriation that colonialism was really all about
Historian William Dalrymple finds that the heir to Ranjit Singh, Duleep Singh wanted to give the diamond to Queen Victoria himself. He hated the decision to surrender it as a part of the treaty that he signed as a child.
In 1947, the Indian government once again demanded the return of the Kohinoor diamond. However, the British government has always rejected these claims.
In 2010, during his visit to India, David Cameron, the UK’s Prime Minister, stated that if the diamond was returned, it would be removed from the British Museum. He also insisted that the Kohinoor was not stolen.
Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of Culture, then ruled out any possibility of bringing back the diamond.
He stated that the issue dates back to the pre-Independence era. According to the guidelines, if an object of national importance is found in any part of the country after the country’s independence, then the Culture Ministry would try to recover it. However, instances of antiquities before the country’s independence do not fall under the ministry’s jurisdiction.