Kohinoor- Robbed, not gifted
Kohinoor, the mountain of light extracted from the forehead of Ashwathama by lord Krishna and gifted to Parikshit as mythology says, has a long history of travel from one king to another. At present, it has become the focal point of controversy. After changing ownership many times, it found a proud place in Shahjaha’s throne-thakt-e-Taus. It was robbed by Nadir Shah and was gifted to Maharaja Ranjit singh of Punjab by one of his generals. Finally, the British robbed it from one of Ranjit Singh’s descendents Raja Dalip Singh, a ten-year-old boy when it was taken from him under the terms of a treaty. At present, it is placed in the English queen’s treasury studded in the crown of the queen’s mother.
In response to a PIL, the solicitor general of India appeared in the court and stated that it was not possible to get Kohinoor back from the British government because it was not robbed but a gifted. He further informed the court that it was gifted by Maharaja Dalip Singh to queen Victoria in 1849. By stating this to the court, the solicitor general was presenting the position of the British government which was accepted by various Indian governments after independence. This position was contradicted by the Shiromani Akali Dal, the next day. The spokes person of the Shiromani Akali Dal told journalists that Raja Dalip Singh who gifted the diamond to the British government was only a ten-year-old boy at that time. He was not mature enough to act independently. He was compelled to accept the terms of the treaty by the agents of the British government. Under the terms of this treaty, Maharaja Dalip Singh has to part with Kohinoor and to give it as a gift. Thus, it was not an act of gift but an act of fraud and force committed by the east India company and the British government of that time.
The present government by the BJP adopted the same stand as by the previous governments. The present solicitor general also told the Supreme Court that Kohinoor was gifted, not robbed. But when its partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal protested, it introduced some change in its position. It promised to spare no effort to bring the diamond back to India, though it didn’t clarify whether it was robbed or gifted. We wonder whether the promise is serious or an act of only appeasement without gravity. It is crystal clear that Kohinoor was robbed not gifted. It was an act of cheating and fraud by the east India company, the history of which is full of such acts of dishonesty, falsehood and cheating. The government should make serious efforts to compel the present British government to return several objects such as Kohinoor, the swords of Tipu Sulatan and Rani Lakshmi Bai. Only then it will be able to prove its worth. Has the present government such courage, sincerity, and diplomacy? We hope that it will be successful in its effort.