Uneasy the head that wears the crown

30 Nov 2015 8:31 AM | Anonymous

Uneasy the head that wears the crown


Zahid Rafiq

What is it about the Koh-i-Noor that stands out as a particularly irksome reminder of the injustice of colonialism?

The periodic claim by India for the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond has become something of a ritual. Britain’s continued possession of the 105-carat diamond — illegally obtained from India and which adorns the British Queen’s crown — still rankles. It is a small but festering bruise in the relations between the two countries that gets inflamed from time to time. The diamond, which was “gifted” to Queen Victoria by Duleep Singh, the 13-year-old ruler of Punjab, when the East India Company established its control over the province in 1850, was part of the massive loot — magnitude unknown and unknowable — that found its way from colonial India to Britain.

Governments, parliamentarians, the Archaeological Survey of India, and other public figures in India, have over the years, argued for the return of the Koh-i-Noor to India, a demand Britain has consistently refused.