It has been 68 years since India achieved independence from British rule. But if you believe that the country has managed to settle things with the British then you are nowhere close to the truth.
They still have our diamonds — our Koh-i-Noor to be precise — with them.
And this is why an Indian group comprising of Bollywood stars and businessmen have initiated a lawsuit in London’s High Court to get back the diamond which is estimated to be a worth a mind-boggling £100 million.
Once the world’s largest-known diamond, the Koh-i-Noor was given to the reigning Queen of the time by the last ruler of the Sikhs, Duleep Singh, after the British annexed Punjab, The Independent reports.
Presently, the diamond is part of Britain’s crown jewels and was in the crown worn by the Queen Mother at the coronation of her husband King George VI in 1937 and again at Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1953.
The Indian group, which has called itself the “Mountain of Light” a literal translation of the diamond’s name, say that the 105-carat diamond was stolen from its true home in India and are demanding that the UK Government return it.
One of the members of Indian leisure group Tito David de Souza told The Independent that the stone is “one of the many artifacts taken from India under dubious circumstances.”
The British lawyers hired by “Mountain of Light” are likely to base their case on the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act, according to which UK’s national institutions have the power to return stolen art.
However, this won’t be an easy battle.
Listen to the Historian Andrew Roberts “Those involved in this ludicrous case should recognise that the British Crown Jewels is precisely the right place for the Koh-i-Noor diamond to reside, in grateful recognition for over three centuries of British involvement in India, which led to the modernisation, development, protection, agrarian advance, linguistic unification and ultimately the democratisation of the sub-continent.”
Of course, if nothing else, maybe we should just rerun Shashi Tharoor’s speech to give them a good idea of what they achieved in India.