A DIAMOND WITH A HISTORY: KOH-I-NOOR

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Business Mantra: Faridabad

Once, one of the largest diamonds in the World, weighing 109 Carats, The Kohinoor (Also known as Mountain of Light – a name given by Nadir Shah), belonged to various rulers of India. Now The Kohinoor is property of Royal Family of Britain and is part of Crown Jewels. Experts feel that this diamond has a history of 5000 years and in Sanskrit it was called “Syamantaka” Jewel.

But various historians have different views on the origin of Kohinoor. Authentic view of one of the historian shows that in 13th century Raja of Malwa was in possession of this precious stone. Delhi ruler Allaudin Khilji took away the precious diamond in 1304 from Rajas of Malwa. It was again taken to the city of Samarkand in 1339 and remained there till it was handed over to  Babur by Sultan Ibrahim Lodhi in 1526. Kohinoor belonged to various Indian and Persian Rulers, who fought bitter battles for possession of this diamond.

Kohinoor was mounted on the Mughal’s “Peacock Throne” by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan. After Shahjahan, Aurangzeb took the jewel to Badshahi Mosque, Lahore. Nadir Shah during the invasion to India took Kohinoor to Persia in 1739. After the death of Nadir Shah, the ruler of Persia Shuja Shah Durani, brought back Kohinoor to India and gifted the precious diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in exchange of helping Shuja Shah Durani in winning Afghanistan by Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813. Hence Kohinoor Diamond came back to India from Persia.

But it did not stay long in India.

After the death of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Punjab was conquered by East India Company. In the Treaty of Lahore, the name of Kohinoor was also mentioned as war compensation in 1849. Kohinoor along with other precious jewels was handed over to East India Company, who transferred it to Britain. When this diamond was handed over to Royal Family in London, it weighed 186 Carats.

Prince Albert took the diamond to Netherlands to giving it a shape in 1852. A diamond cutting expert Mr. Canter gave it the present shape, in 38 days of hard labour, with a weight of 108.93 Carats. It was then embedded in Crown along with other precious jewels, and was worn by Queen Victoria, Queen Alexendra, Queen Mery and Queen Elizabeth on various occasions.

Queen Victoria left a will wherein, she mentioned that the Kohinoor be worn by only the females in the Royal Family.

Now-a-days Kohinoor is kept in “Tower of London” with the other Crown Jewels.

There has been various claims put forth by India and simultaneously by Pakistan to the British to give back this precious diamond, but nothing has happened.

Solicitor General of India has in his verbal statement in Supreme Court of India told that British/ East India Company did not take away “The Kohinoor” by force but was handed over to them in 1849, as war compensation by the then ruler of Punjab Maharaja Daleep Singh.  Spokesperson from Government of India has reiterated that the verbal statement of Solicitor General of India was his own views and not the official views of the government.

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