Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kohinoor belongs to India

Historical evidence proves that the Kohinoor originated in the Golconda kingdom, in the Hyderabad state of Andhra Pradesh, the world's earliest diamond producing regions. This region was the first and only known source for diamonds until 1730 when diamonds were discovered in Brazil. It is likely that the diamond was mined in the Kollur mines in the present day Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. In 1320 A.D, Ulugh Khan, son of Ghiyas ud din Tughluq Shah I, raided the Golconda kingdom three times and the diamond was the part of the bounty. After it went to Mughal's hands. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne.

In 1739, Persian king nadir Shah invaded India and sacked Agra and Delhi. Along with the Peacock Throne, he also carried off the Kohinoor to Persia. The valuation of the Kohinoor is given in the legend that one of Nadir Shah's consorts supposedly said, "If a strong man should take five stones, and throw one north, one south, one east, and one west, and the last straight up into the air, and the space between filled with gold and gems, that would equal the value of the Kohinoor".

Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1747 and the stone fell into the hands of Ahmed Shah Abdali of Afghanistan. In 1830, Shah Shuja, the deposed ruler of Afghanistan, managed to flee with the Kohinoor diamond. He then came to Lahore where it was given to the Sikh Maharaja (King) of Punjab, Ranjit Singh; in return for this Maharaja Ranjit Singh was able to persuade the East India Company to lend their troops and win back the Afghan throne for Shah Shuja. Ranjit Singh crowned himself as the ruler of Punjab and willed the Kohinoor to Jagannath Temple in Orissa while on his deathbed in 1839. But there was dispute about this last-minute testament, and in any case it was not executed. According to the treaty of Lahore the diamond will be taken from the Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk by Maharajah Ranjit Singh and surrendered to Queen of England. Later the stone was to be used as the centerpiece of the crown of the Queens consort of the United Kingdom. Queen Alexandra was the first to use the stone, followed by Queen Mary. In 1936, the stone was set into the crown of the new Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother), wife of King George VI. In 2002, the crown rested atop her coffin as she lay in state.

The Kohinoor diamond is valued then by Babur that the stone's value to be such as it will feed the whole world for two days. The diamond has a long and bloody history and it is claimed by many countries. In 1976, Pakistan prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto asked British prime minister Jim Callaghan for the Kohinoor to be returned to Pakistan. The prime minister replied to Mr. Bhutto with a polite "No". Other claims have been made by India, the Taliban regime of Afghanistan, and Iran. As of 2007, the gem remains in the Tower of London. In 2000, several Indian MPs demanded that the Kohinoor diamond should be returned to India by Britain. They also argue that the Kohinoor was misappropriated by the colonial rulers during the British Raj.

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