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Modi govt says Kohinoor was a 'gift' to the East India Company, Twitter agrees to disagree

Trinaa Prasad | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:51 IST

At least you learn something everyday.

After being forced to take a stand on asking the British to return the famous Kohinoor diamond by the Supreme Court, the government said the question does not arise since the diamond was a 'gift'. 

The government maintained that it was a gift to the East India Company by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab, adding that the UK cannot be 'forced' to return the diamond since it had neither been stolen nor had it been taken by force. 

The apex court responded by warning them that this statement could boomerang and that they "will face a problem in the future for making any legitimate claim". Meaning that this declaration will come back to haunt those in power, should they later change their mind and seek the return of the prodigal diamond.

The court is currently discussing this issue due to a petition filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front, who seek the return of the Kohinoor, the sword of Tipu Sultan, and several other antiques which were taken to England by the East India Company.

As the news broke, social media nearly choked in indignation, leading a series of tweets on the history of the diamond to the circumstances in which it changes nationalities.

There are several equally convincing accounts of the history of the diamond, but it is said that the then-unnamed diamond belonged to Rajas of Malwa during 1304. 

It exchanged several hands since and even got a bit of a reputation as a cursed stone. Only God or a woman could wear it; to men it would only bring misfortune. 

During Babur's reign, the diamond resurfaced again and got both, its name - the Koh-i-noor - and its fame, after it was embedded in the famous peacock throne.

The Kohinoor, which literally translates into 'Mountain of Light', was handed over by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the East India Company as a gift of war in 1849 - after the two brutal wars of Punjab. 

The diamond reached Queen Victoria in 1850 and was later set in the monarch's crown. It is said that Queen Victoria decreed that only women be allowed to wear it.

The crown is currently on display at the Tower of London. Even though the Foreign Ministry is yet to submit their report, the chances of the return of one of the world's most famous diamonds. looks pretty bleak.


Edited by Blassy Boben

First published: 18 April 2016, 5:35 IST