Kohinoor and the Queen

Tanaji
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Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Tanaji » 08 Apr 2002 03:35

Is it just me that finds the idea of this Queen Mother being laid to rest with the Kohinoor diamond sitting on top of her coffin particularly odious? I am the first to admit that I don't know the law in these matters, but technically, wasnt this diamond stolen from India? What right does this Queen, and the British Government have to lay it on the top of a dead person's casket? Why doesn't the Indian government put more efforts into this matter?

Incidentally, it also provides a commentary on British philosophy and outlook towards life and death in general. We (this is decidedly a Hinduism oriented view) tend to view death as a end and at the same time a beginning towards a new life (reincarnation and all that). I fail to comprehend what earthly good is that diamond going to do to the Queen in her afterlife if she has one? Does she or her subjects imagine her to be some sort of a modern day Egyptian Pharaoh who takes all his earthly belongings with them to help them in their after life? Last time I checked the Christians had no such beliefs? So why this insistance on placing the diamond?

This is British arrogance, pure and simple. They seem to be thumbing their noses at us and saying "We stole your diamond, we ain't giving it back, in fact we are gonna place it on a dead person. So there.." A saying about a dog's tail remaining crooked comes to mind..

On a related note, I wonder if anyone has a list of all the atrocities, the loot and plunder the British did in their 300 years of colonial rule. I have a feeling that they would end up making the Nazis look like Sunday school teachers...

http://people.indiatimes.com/misc/kohinoor.html

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby kgoan » 08 Apr 2002 05:18

Tanaji, no, it's not just you.

As far as I understand it, the diamond won't be buried with her, it's just for the funeral. As to why it was placed there, I think it refers specifically to India.

If I have my facts correct, she was the Queen during WW2 and on the throne before independence. That makes her the last British "Queen Empress" of India. She lost the "Empress" title after independence, and the official "Queen" title when her daughter became the current monarch.

But that, I think, is why the diamond was used. To remember her role as the "Empress" of India.

As for getting the diamond back. I doubt it. The Brits are like magpies with their looted wealth. It's all they have these days to remember the glories of Empire. The Greeks have been trying to get back the Elgin Marbles, stolen from them for ages, but the Brits have flatly refused to hand back anything. Same with the Egyptians. I don't think we'd be any more successful.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Raja » 08 Apr 2002 05:21

I dont think british peformed comparable atrocities on mass amount of people like Nazis. Maybe spanish would compare if not surprass.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby kgoan » 08 Apr 2002 05:36

Originally posted by Raja:
I dont think british peformed comparable atrocities on mass amount of people like Nazis. Maybe spanish would compare if not surprass.
Bengal famine anyone?

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Rudra » 08 Apr 2002 06:15

technically some fawning tail-wagger of a Raja gifted the thing to the brits.

Now you know why I admire certain aspects of indira gandhi's character. she kicked that class of parasites right in their groin and when they shouted, she kicked them some more.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Kedar » 08 Apr 2002 06:26

Tanaji and others:

You are not alone in thinking that the Brits won't be returning the Kohinoor anytime soon. Kgoan mentioned about the Elgin Marbles and I remember a discussion on the BBC website (its Talking Point) a few months ago on this subject. They were justifying not returning the marbles implying that other civilizations and nations are careless people and its the good old Brits only who can take care of such treasures. I wrote that if people like the Brits did not loot it in the first place, then a question of its losing would not arise and not surprisingly that post was never posted. Heck they have even refused to say sorry for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

However, don't blame the Indian government for not showing any guts in telling the Brits to return it. Before they do that they would need the country solidly behind it and even on our own BR we have experienced some retarded comments praising the British rule. In fact, don't be surprised if any poster comes back and says that the Kohinoor is more safely in the British hands because they have the jury system and we have corrupt judges. :roll:

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Mudy » 08 Apr 2002 07:16

Raja:
If you get a chance to visit London (UK) make sure you visit War museum inside Tower of London charges are 50 pennies. Where you can see and read lot of information about how brutal britisher were against Indians and during that time how they were able to improve their living standard in UK.
2) Windsor Castle- A big display of loot from India, specially Tippu sultan dress, his crown, and Throne.
3) War Museum in Leeds.
4) Museum in Greenwich.
These Britisher still say that zero came from greeks not Indians.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby karthik.k » 08 Apr 2002 08:12

Originally posted by kgoan:
Originally posted by Raja:
[b]I dont think british peformed comparable atrocities on mass amount of people like Nazis. Maybe spanish would compare if not surprass.
Bengal famine anyone?[/b]
My command over history is not so good, but wasn't something like the Bengal famine planned for the Soviet Union by Hitler and his SS cronies once the Soviet Union had been defeated (Operation Barbarossa) ?

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby S Bajwa » 08 Apr 2002 09:24

technically some fawning tail-wagger of a Raja gifted the thing to the brits.
In actuality.... Nadir Shah took it from Mughals to Iran/Afghanistan. Dost Mohammad Khan then gifted it to Ranjit Singh when Ranjit Singh freed him from the prison in Kashmir., after Ranjit Singh's death 1839, the next 10 years were very turbulent due to Dogras wanting to control Punjab, Gulab Singh Dogra of Jammu region fled with all the jewels and because he helped British to defeat the Sikh kingdom of Ranjit Singh he was given Kashmir and British got all the great diamonds, etc.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby reggie » 08 Apr 2002 10:31

Quote:

In fact, don't be surprised if any poster comes back and says that the Kohinoor is more safely in the British hands because they have the jury system and we have corrupt judges.

Right you are!!!! But not necessarily for the same reason. The GOI should claim ownership and then 'loan' the rock to the Brits for a heafty per annum fee.

Believe you me, if the diamond was to return to India, sooner than later, it will be stolen, pilfered or kept in a dimly-lit, polluted room where the Kohinoor would loose its relevancy.

Just look at some of the museum in India today. I think the only SAFE place in India today is your local regiment's quarter guard. :roll:

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby reggie » 08 Apr 2002 12:57

For example:

Priceless artefacts being stolen from anciet site in Anantnag
From Muzaffar Raina
SAMTHAN (ANANTNAG), Apr 5: Colossal mounds overlooking the prominent Bijebehara town here are believed to be laden with priceless artefacts, centuries old. These mounds, however, are proving gold mines for many people who are always on a look out to get their share of this precious heritage.

“Whenever it rains, the outer surface of these mounds is washed and these artifacts surface. On these particular occasions, the place is thronged by gold-smiths and other people from far off places who look for coins and other remains”, said Manzoor Ahmad, a local.

Prof Shad, a retired history professor from Bijebehara, said the site is of immense importance. “That place is called Chakidar and it was part of a territory ruled by Greeks. That is why, coins and other remains of that period have been dug out there”, he said.

It is not the gold-smiths alone who take the share. Down these mounds, there is a village inhabited by scores of families. “Every family here is in possession of the artefacts that have been dug out here. They include small statues, coins of copper or some times silver”, said Riyaz Ahmad, a local.

http://kashmirtimes.com/

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Raj Singh » 08 Apr 2002 15:40

I have some sketchy info on the subject.

When Kuldip Nayyar was High Commissioner of India in UK, he went to some British Museum and happened to have come across some old Indian painting. After returning from there, he learnt that Britain has some priceless Indian paintings/portraits which have not seen the day of light. He went back to the same Museum and requested them loan it to Indian High Commission for exhibition. Some middle ranking officer point blankly refused to hand over the paintings to Indian High Commission/er. This angered KN and he started pursuing the matter of paintings and Kohinoor more vigorously. While he was doing that, he got shifted back to India where he became Rajya Sabha MP. There, he tried to put privated member's bill (?) on Kohinoor to be returned to India. According to him, not even 10 MPs were willing to debate on the subject and pursue the matter further. In frustration, he has written all about it in one his coloumns giving the whole history of the matter. If I am not mistaken, there is some organisation in Britain who is supposed to pursue this matter with Britain but has not been getting the requisite help from GOI/India.

Another minor problem is Pakistan. Pakistan too is staking claim on Kohinoor.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Rahul Mehta » 08 Apr 2002 19:22

Does anyone know how much is kohinoor worth?

-Rahul Mehta

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Rudra » 08 Apr 2002 20:08

it was cut to fit the crown. in pure jewelry
carat terms it wont be exorbitantly costly.

but then priceless things have a prestige and
sentiment attached to them (like famous paintings
or sculpture), so a price cannot be put on them.
only in open auction one can know how much that
sentiment is worth.

but even if its worth Rs 1/-, it should still
be with us.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Umrao » 08 Apr 2002 20:28

Appraised value of Khinoor is like the appraised value of my home, will I be able to sell it at that value ( or is there a buyer for that appraised value) is a million dollar question.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Rahul Mehta » 08 Apr 2002 22:32

Rudra Singha says:
Kohinoor was cut to fit the crown. in pure jewelry carat terms it wont be exorbitantly costly. .... but even if its worth Rs 1/-, it should still be with us.
John Umrao: Apraised value of Khinoor is like the appraised value of my home, will I be able to sell it at that value ( or is there a buyer for that appraised value) is a million dollar question.
There are people who specialize in apparaising diamonds based on carat, shine etc. What do they say about Kohinoor's value?

if kohinoor is auctioned, what is the highest bid you are likely to get? Has anyone approached British Govt for a sale? What price have the quoted?

-Rahul Mehta

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby kautilya » 09 Apr 2002 00:11

historically, whichever king/queen got the Kohinoor, his/her empire went downhill from that point. So, let them have it. ;)

I would be more interested in getting back the Sanskrit manuscripts etc. that they have.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby reggie » 09 Apr 2002 00:51

Then let Pa_istan have it! :D :D

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby shim george » 09 Apr 2002 01:43

They hav to give the Kohinoor back. Those crooks, taking all our stuff. Well we should keep the Kohinoor cause alive. Did the English take all the jewels out of the monuments out of Agra? I mean I see a lot of imprints of chisled out jewels.

I believe if the Kohinoor is returned, it will be safe in India. The Nizam's jewels have beenon display now for a few onths, nothing has happened yet,.

George J

Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby George J » 09 Apr 2002 04:39

The day we get into the UN security council is the day we get the Kohinoor back. Heck i even go on record saying that the MKI's will arrive before we ever get anything back from the Brits. Rudra ?

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby ramana » 09 Apr 2002 05:10

From The Telegraph, 4/9/2002....
FIFTH COLUMN / LAST QUEEN OF THE RAJ

BY SUNANDA K. DATTA-RAY


Not inappropriately, the crown on the coffin of Britain’s Queen Mother flaunted the Koh-i-Noor — she was, after all, Empress of India, and the last one at that. But the title ended in 1947 with Lord Listowel, the last secretary of state for India, giving up his seal of office to George VI, the last emperor, at Balmoral Castle.
He had to drop the I — Imperator — from his signature which devastated his mother. Surveying a plantation of trees in Windsor Great Park, each representing a colony, George VI remarked sadly that like India, they would all go. Clement Attlee tried to persuade Jawaharlal Nehru to console him with a heroic Indian title but Nehru refused, though Krishna Menon called the king “a really good man” who “understood and respected” Indians.

Reputedly, the queen-mum, who blamed Lord Mountbatten for “giving away the empire,” did not. “She is not fond of black folk,” Paul Callan wrote in the International Express. Her notoriously indiscreet vocabulary apparently included words like “nig-nog” and “blackamoor”.

In that she was very different from Victoria, the first queen-empress, whose partiality for her munshi angered her son and heir, or her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, whose strong feeling for the Commonwealth has helped it through many crises. With more than a million subjects from the subcontinent, Her Majesty might be said to preside over the empire’s revenge.

India was glamour for the royals. Even the twice-divorced American commoner who cost Edward VIII his throne drawled, “But can’t you remain Emperor of India even if you are no longer King of England?” when he told her he was abdicating. George V and Mary had worn their imperial crowns at a grand durbar in Delhi. The Kaiser complained that a visiting German prince was not allowed to ride an elephant though the viceroy and assorted maharajahs did.

An Indian affair
“I don’t care what you say,” a dowager in pearls and navy two-piece exclaimed accusingly in a first class carriage of the train from London to Bangor, where I would take the branch line to Caernarvon and Prince Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales, though I had said not a word, “but royal events haven’t been the same since those dear maharajahs stopped coming!”

If George VI and his consort lost out on the glamour, it was not for want of trying. But Nehru and Mohammed Ali Jinnah were so tense when the king-emperor entertained them to lunch at Buckingham Palace that he dared not broach a visit. “Poor George VI didn’t get his durbar!” an Englishman told me once as if I was personally responsible for the deprivation.

Yet, the king and queen were familiar figures in my childhood. Large framed photographs, signed with a flourish George R.I. and Elizabeth R.I., appeared in the assembly hall of La Martiniere on the eve of independence. I wondered whether this was the last defiant fling of a colonial school that survives only in the name (even the hall has gone!), or of the unreconciled royals.

Understandably, Nehru would not let Queen Elizabeth host a reception in the Red Fort’s Diwan-i-Khas in 1961. Twenty-two years later, Indira Gandhi refused to let her pin a decoration on Mother Teresa in Rashtrapati Bhavan’s Durbar Hall.

Caution makes sense in a hierarchical society whose monarchical traditions die hard. Our Midnapore cook asked in 1947 whether Nehru or Gandhi would be the next raja. Legislative elections have merely changed the process of anointing monarchs. Not for nothing did the Guinness Book of World Records cite the Rajmata of Jaipur for being elected with the highest majority ever. Lest some ambitious Indian gets ideas, the crown that was made for George V’s durbar at the Indian taxpayer’s expense was promptly whisked off to the Tower of London.

When the Koh-i-Noor’s return was mooted some years ago, Inder Kumar Gujral, then prime minister, wisely warned that India had more serious things to think of than diamonds. His beleaguered successor might welcome the controversy as a distraction. That apart, with the last empress gone, the queen herself might reflect that Duleepsinghji, the stone’s previous owner, always called Victoria “Mrs Fagin”, receiver of stolen goods in Oliver Twist.


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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Sundareswara » 09 Apr 2002 06:52

Are there any legally enforceable international treaties on the return of goods looted from a country in times of war?

If Nazi theft of valuable paintings, gold came under this category, I am sure the Kohinoor could too (among other things!)

I am sure the sticklers would claim that colonisation is not war, but again, that objection could be defeated!

To answer someone's question earlier, about the total value of goods looted from Indian shores...I have read $3 trillion in today's dollars (labour, goods, gold, etc.) Not to mention, the lost time in development, lives not lived to potential (which is still happening) deaths due to famine and murderous acts by loons like Dyer. Admittedly, I do not know how they arrived at the figure.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Rudra » 09 Apr 2002 06:59

what matters most is that we LOOT the Brits and snatch their jobs thru movement of their work to India.

We have made a decent start on that. Keep that
knife polished, smile and bide our time....

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Johann » 09 Apr 2002 08:16

I ask this question because no one has really adressed it.

Was the manner in which the East India Company acquired the Kohinoor substantially different from the ways in which its previous owners did so from each other?

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby vish » 09 Apr 2002 08:25

Originally posted by Johann:
Was the manner in which the British government acquired the Kohinoor substantially different from the ways in which its previous owners did so from each other?
Excellent question, Johann!

Guys, in any case, our short-term (and long-term) goal should be to get RICH and PROSPEROUS. Then, if we really want it so much, we can buy the damn thing.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Rudra » 09 Apr 2002 08:33

if the brits decide to get rid of their "Lord" system and that corrupt flock called the "royal family" I wonder what they will be good for. most have little skills except horse-riding and fox-hunting (both 2- and 4-legged).

I sometimes wonder how a democratic country can just hand over millions of pounds to these thieving clan of rascals while so many important public works can be done.

atleast the swedes and others have a royal clan who live very modestly.


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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Krishna » 10 Apr 2002 08:32

Sparkling Through The Ages

From Koh-i-Noor to the untraceable Idol’s Eye, Monisha Bharadwaj traces the history of 19 exceptional diamonds ever known.

Author Monisha Bharadwaj in her book, Great Diamonds of India, traces the history of these valued treasures of the country. She states that “even after the historic plunder of the Mughal Empire by the Persian ruler, Nadir Shah in 1739, India continued to be known as the treasury of the world; its celebrated royals and wealthy industrialists went to astonishing lengths to acquire and keep these diamonds.”

She narrates the history of 19 precious diamonds of India. Beginning with the ever popular Koh-i-Noor, which is worth half the daily expense of the whole world to the now untraceable Pigot.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby rajivg » 14 Apr 2002 00:12

Legend has it that the Kohinoor was given by Shri Ram to Sita as a gift before they were banished from Ayodhya. Whoever has had the diamond has lost it.

Rajiv...

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Raj Singh » 14 Apr 2002 02:03

On the subject of Kohinoor, following sheds some more light....

" The Kohinoor is perhaps the most famous gemstone in the world. It is not merely a diamond, it is a symbol of India in a way that the Taj Mahal of Agra and the Elephanta Cave of Mumbai are symbols of India.

The manner in which the Kohinoor was taken from India was a cause of shame and embarrassment in the 19th Century for both India and Britain. India, because it did not have the strength to protect its wealth from marauders and Britain, because the dubious manner in which the gemstone was taken from a mere boy.

We quote from a contemporary British account for readers to judge the case for themselves. The account that follows is culled from Lady Login’s Recollections. (Court Life And Camp Life 1820-1904).

Login, a surgeon in the service of the British was installed as Governor to the dethroned boy-king and Lord of the Lahore Fort on April 9, 1849 and entrusted with all the treasure of the kingdom including the Kohinoor.
The diamond was the property of the boy, Maharaja Duleep Singh, son of Maharaja Runjeet Singh. Neither the father nor the son ever fought the British. How then did the gem change hands?

Duleep Singh became Maharaja at the age of five. Maharani Jinda or Jindan, mother of Duleep Singh, governed the country under the directions of a Board of Control consisting of the two Lawrence brothers, Mr C.G. Mansel and Sir Francis Currie. The “Council of Regency” represented prominent “Natives.”

In 1848, Sikh troops fearing disbandment and loss of employment rose in rebellion under disaffected Sirdars.

The insurgents were proclaimed rebels “against the government of Maharaja Duleep Singh” and the British Army entered the Lahore territories “not as an enemy... but to restore order and obedience.”

“All who have remained faithful in their obedience to the Government of Maharaja Duleep Singh have nothing to fear from the coming of the British Army”.

Despite all this talk another “treaty” was imposed upon the boy Maharaja. This mulcted him of all his wealth and took away his kingdom. The diamond Kohinoor became the only gem in the world to figure in a treaty.
Queen Victoria (She became Empress of India only later) was uneasy about the Kohinoor.

Victoria once asked Lady Login, “Tell me, Lady Login, does the Maharaja ever mention the Kohinoor? Does he seem to regret it, and would like to see it again? Find out for me.”

As Duleep Singh was sitting for Winterhalter at Buckingham Palace in order that a portrait be made for Victoria it was suggested that the inquiry be made before the next session.

When asked Duleep Singh replied, “I would give a good deal to hold it again in my hand.” “Why, because I was but a child when forced to surrender it by treaty; but now that I am a man, I should have it in my power to place it myself in her hand.” The actual encounter of the Prince and his lost jewel will have to be told in another column."

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby member_2808 » 14 Apr 2002 18:19

I thought the details regarding how the Kohinoor was taken by trickery from Duleep Singh were pretty well known by now.

As for Johann's point that what the British did was little different from what the other owners of the Kohinoor did to get their hands on it - true, so if a line of thieves extends back and you apprehend the last one, he should be let off as all the others are dead? This is the same logic. Or you could argue that the Kohinoor never really belonged to Duleep Singh and his predecessors - thus by extension all items of antiquity are up for grabs as they invariably were built of suffering, exploitation and force of arms? What a load of nonsense - the Brits will never willingly give up the Kohinoor but the way they 'acquired' it - by effectively kidnapping a child, holding him to ransom and tricking him into signing over his birthrights should be well publicised...then perhaps public displays of the diamond may become a little less fun.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Johann » 15 Apr 2002 00:37

HSTrivedi, AFAIK the item has been transferred from owner to owner alternatingly by coercion and inheritance from coercers. Who as an individual deserves restitution?

If on the other hand people are talking about a restatement of ownership as a symbolic apology for the non-consenual transfer of wealth from the subcontinent thats another matter entirely. It is certainly worth discussing, but it will be a slow multi-generational process of international dialog (something that is happening informally anyway). It will take time to come to a consensus of views on definitions, events and outcomes before the issue of apologies or reparations can be grought up. Certainly Pakistan and Bangladesh would have to be involved as well.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby rajivg » 15 Apr 2002 06:36

I don't see any role for Bangladesh or Pak as they were created as Islamic states. They say so formally in their constitution. The Maharaja from which the Kohinoor was taken was Hindu/Sikh and thus it should be returned to that estate, which is now in India.

I believe there is a gentleman in Canada who claims to be a descendent of one of the Maharajas that owned the Kohinoor. He is willing to undergo a DNA test to prove this. He has more of a claim on the Kohinoor than Pak or Bangladesh.

In any case, to highlight the issue of the Kohinoor, maybe Bollywood could make a really great movie about the history of the diamond and the characters associated with it.

If it were upto me, I would return the Kohinoor to the Ram-Jan-Bhoomi trust. After all, it was a gift to Sita.

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Joeqp » 15 Apr 2002 10:09

Personally, I say: <B>who cares?</B>
I know the symbolic value, etc. But we have better things to worry about. For one, I'd rather see 0 starvation deaths; peace and harmony between the various communities; ~100% literacy rate; etc.

I, for one, would rather that the Kohinoor remained with Britain. It should serve as a reminder to all of us as to what happens when we are divided (as we were when the British enslaved us). People forget very easily (Gujarat?).

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Re: Kohinoor and the Queen

Postby Calvin » 15 Apr 2002 18:42

Well said, Manavendra.


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