During his speech on the final day, which was addressed towards increasing investments and trade relations between India and Britain, Cameron stated that the Koh-i-noor diamond will not be returned. India has made repeated requests to Britain for returning the Koh-i-noor diamond. But all of them have been turned down.
It is a bloody stone that stays with the conqueror, it has no loyalty but to the one who 'conquered the land' got it. It is not the possession of the stone that establishes the 'master ship' of the stone; it is the conquered land. The stone appears and falls in the laps of the conqueror.This is one stone that like a masters cannot be sold neither can be hidden and it is always found. It so far over centuries had the tendency to move towards the subcontinent.
Koh-i-noor; a curse or a blessing: The source of the Koh-i-noor diamond remains a obscurity. It is believed that the Koh-i Noor carries with it a curse which affects men who wear it, but not women. All the men who owned it have either lost their throne or had other misfortunes befall them. The notion of a curse pertaining to ownership of the diamond dates back to a Hindu text relating to the first authenticated appearance of the diamond in 1306:
"He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.''
Queen Victoria is the first reigning monarch to have worn the gem. Since Victoria's reign, the stone has generally been worn by the British Queen Consort, never by a male ruler. Lord Dalhousie 'The Governor-General General' in charge of the ratification for the treaty through which Koh-i Noor was acquired had rubbished this myth of curse :
“The Koh-i-Noor has been of ill-fortune only to the few who have lost it. To the long line of emperors, conquerors and potentates who through successive centuries have possessed it, it has been the symbol of victory and empire. And sure never more than to our Queen. However, if Her Majesty thinks it brings bad luck, let her give it back to me. I will take it and its ill-luck as speculation.”
The Governor-General Lord Dalhousie more than anyone, was responsible for the British acquiring the Koh-i Noor, in which he continued to show great interest for the rest of his life. Dalhousie's work in India was primarily aimed at appropriation of Indian assets for the use of the British East India Company. His acquisition of the diamond, amongst many other things, was criticized even by some of his contemporaries in Britain. Although some suggested that the diamond should have been presented as a gift to the Queen, it is clear that Dalhousie felt strongly that the stone was a spoil of war, and treated it accordingly.
Interestingly John Lawrence, the colonial administrator, put it in his waistcoat pocket and forgot about it. When asked for the prize, Lawrence had no idea where it was. Racing home, he asked his servant- who said, yes, he had found a small box, containing a piece of glass in his master’s waistcoat! After gaining the famous diamond, the Governor General, Lord Dalhousie immediately sent the Koh-i-noor to England after taking every care to ensure its safe passage over the land and the sea-routes. On 6 April 1850 the Koh-i-noor left the shores of India on board of the HMS Medea. So shrouded in mystery was its departure that even the Captain of the Medea did not know the precious cargo his ship carried. On 3rd July, the Koh-i-noor was formally handed over to Queen Victoria by the officials of the East India Company in a private ceremony held in Buckingham Palace.
Original legend has it that the diamond originally belonged to the Dhruvin Chavdas. The diamond probably came from the Kollur mines, near the village in the present-day Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, India. A legend narrates of a story that Koh-i-noor is by product of another legendary and even older diamond Great Moghul that weighed 793 carat and has mysteriously disappeared in 1665.
The first confirmed historical mention of the Koh-i Noor by an identifiable name dates from 1526. Bābur mentions in his memoirs, the Bābur-Nāmah, that the stone had belonged to an unnamed Raja of Gwalior, who was compelled to yield his prized possession in 1294 to 'Alā'uddīnKhiljī. It was then owned by the Tughlaq dynasty. Both Bābur and Humāyūn mention in their memoirs the origins of 'the Diamond of Bābur'.
When the Tughlaq dynasty replaced the Khiljī dynasty in 1320 AD, Ghiyāth al-Dīn Tughluq sent his commander Ulūgh Khān in 1323 to defeat the Kākatīya king Prātaparuḑra. Ulūgh Khān's raid was repulsed but he returned in a month with a larger and determined army. The unprepared army of Kakātīya was defeated this time and the diamond was seized by the champion army of the Delhi Sultanate. This is how it traces its passing on to the treasures of Lodī dynasty, and finally came into the possession of Bābur himself in 1526.
Babur called the stone 'the Diamond of Bābur' at the time, although it had been called by other names before he seized it from Ibrāhīm Lodī. In 1523 when Babur had taken possession of Lahore, Ibrahim Lodhi who ruled Delhi friends and relatives of his courtiers who were humiliated and locked up in dungeons due to Ibrahim Lodhi distrustful nature appealed to Babur to save them from his ruthless regime; he was glad to respond. Though Lodhi’s army with 1000 elephants trained in combat largely outnumbered Babar's army; yet Babur with twelve thousand men under his command defeated Sultan of Delhi.
Consequently Babur took over Fort of Agra with its immense treasures which included a diamond that defied all description. Its size, color, and brightness were beyond comparison. When Babur took the possession of the diamond, he valued it at the price of two days food for the whole world. Humāyūn lost to Sher Shāh Sūrī and was mostly on the run, Humāyūn's son, Akbar, never kept the diamond with him. Shāh Jahān used it but he was overthrown by his own son, Aurangzēb. Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in Agra, had the 'unfortunate cursed stone' placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. Aurangazēb, not only dethroned him but life-imprisoned him in the Agra Fort. Where he could only see his beautiful Tāj Mahal in a reflection from Koh-i Noor conveniently positioned near a window.
Austere Aurangzeb asked Venetian Hortensio Borgio to re-cut the stone, he devoted three and a half years and exercised so little skill in its execution that when the stone left his hands it was reduced to a weight of 280 carat. Aurungzeb was so angry at the laxity of his lapidary, that he refused to compensate him seriously considered to behead him. Tavernier an enterprising French traveller was the first to sketch Koh-i-noor diamond after its weight and value was compromised by the Venetian Hortensio Borgio.
The stone was later transported by Aurangazēb to his capital Lahore and placed in his own personal Bādshāhī Mosque. There it stayed until the invasion of Nādir Shāh of Iran in 1739 and the sacking of Agra and Delhi. Aurangzeb's death marked the beginning of the death and decline of the Mughal Empire. His successors could not fill the scars of 'puritanism' he had left on the Empire. By the time seventeen years old Muhammad Shah in 1719 was crowned the Emperor of Delhi the Mughal court had reduced to pleasures, and the joys of life. The terminal decline had began and Nadir Shah Afshar, a humble shepherd's son from the other side of the border,who had deposed the ruling monarch Persia served the death warrant on the Mughal Empire. After proclaiming himself as the King of Persia; he marched into Afghanistan moved on to Delhi. In 1739 at the Battle of Karanal plains fifty kilometers from Delhi, the Mughals were annihilated, The Shah's forces defeated the army of Muhammad Shah, the Indian emperor of the Mughal dynasty, in little more than three hours thus paving the way for the Persian sack of Delhi.
Nadir Shah was amazed at the grandeur of the Mughal court and looked at every article in the palace with great curiosity. He was also pleased at the hospitality of Muhammad Shah, for he fed and feasted the conquerors on a lavish scale. A few days later, the residents of Delhi killed a few Persian soldiers and Nadir Shah ordered a general massacre of the local population. At least 20,000-perhaps as many as 150,000- people lost their lives and the city was pillaged. At the end, the slaughter ceased, but not before Muhammad Shah promised to pay him war reparations and presented him with all the jewels in the Royal Treasury, which also included the famous Peacock Throne, the pride of the Mughal Emperors.
But the Koh-i-noor diamond was nowhere to be seen. Muhammad Shah carried it with him hidden in the folds of his turban, a secret known only to a selected few, including a eunuch in the harem of the Emperor. Hoping to win the favor of Nadir Shah, the disloyal eunuch whispered the emperor's secret into his ears, and Nadir Shah in turn, devised a plan to deprive Muhammad Shah of his prized possession. The day was drawing near for him to leave for Persia and Nadir Shah ordered a grand durbar to be held where he would hand over the control of the Mughal Empire back to Muhammad Shah.
On 1 May 1739, during the ceremony, he reminded Muhammad Shah of the ancient tradition of exchanging turbans between kings as a sign of friendship and fraternal ties. Nadir Shah gave little room for pause between word and action and removed the turban from his head and placed it on the head of Muhammad Shah, leaving the latter with no choice but to reciprocate the gesture. Muhammad Shah went through the ceremony with such poise that it left Nadir Shah baffled. Was the Koh-i-noor really hidden under the folds of his turban, as the eunuch had revealed, or it was a hoax?
After the ceremony, Nadir Shah hurried into his apartments and eagerly undid the folds of his turban, where he found the hidden diamond. Wonderstruck at its size, beauty, and brilliance, he exclaimed: "Koh-i-noor," which in Persian means "mountain of light." Along with the Peacock Throne, he also carried off the Koh-i Noor to Persia in 1739. It was allegedly Nādir Shāh who exclaimed Koh-i Noor! when he finally managed to obtain the famous stone, and this is how the stone gained its present name. There is no reference to this name before 1739. After returning to Persia, Nadir Shah kept the diamond near himself, within easy reach.
After the assassination of Nādir Shāh in 1747, the stone came into the hands of his general, Ahmad Shāh Durrānī of Afghanistan. He later became the King of Afghanistan. After his death in 1772, the Koh-i-noor diamond passed into the hands of his successors. In the battle for succession that followed, the Koh-i-noor ended in possession of one of his sons Shujāh Shāh Durrānī. In the changing fortunes of war, Shuja Mirza was defeated and made prisoner by the allies of his brother, Mahmud Shah. However, before being captured, he managed to send his family to Punjab to seek refuge with Maharaja Ranjit Singh (known also as ‘Ranjeet the Lion’).
Wafa Begum, Shuja Mirza’s wife, carried the Koh-i-noor diamond with her to Lahore. Wafa Begum became greatly distressed when she heard the dreadful news of her husband. She sent envoys to Ranjit Singh and implored him to use his influence to get her husband released and in return for his help promised him the Koh-i-noor diamond. Ranjit Singh marched against the Afghans and got Shah Shuja released. Ranjīt Singh won back the Afghan throne for Shah Shujā'. After securing the Koh-i-noor diamond, Ranjit Singh had the prized jewel fitted in his turban. Later he had it sewn into an armlet, which he wore on all the important state occasions, where it remained for twenty years. Before Ranjit Singh died in 1839, his priests tried to get him to donate the diamond to the Temple of Jaggannath. Apparently he agreed, but by this time he was unable to speak and the keeper of the royal treasure refused to release the stone, on the grounds that he has not received such orders.
After his death in 1839 the British administrators did not execute his will. On 29 March 1849, the British raised their flag on the citadel of Lahore and the Punjab was formally proclaimed part of the British Empire in India. One of the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, the legal agreement formalising this occupation, was as follows:
''The gem called Koh-i-Noor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk by Maharajah Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.''
Writing to his friend Sir George Cooper in August 1849, was Lord Dalhousie stated:
''The Court [of the East India Company] you say, are ruffled by my having caused the Maharajah to cede to the Queen the Koh-i-noor; while the 'Daily News' and my Lord Ellenborough [Governor-General of India, 1841-44] are indignant because I did not confiscate everything to her Majesty... [My] motive was simply this: that it was more for the honour of the Queen that the Koh-i-noor should be surrendered directly from the hand of the conquered prince into the hands of the sovereign who was his conqueror, than it should be presented to her as a gift—which is always a favour—by any joint-stock company among her subjects. So the Court ought to feel.''
A new re-cut to correct the deficiencies of Venetian Hortensio Borgio - The stone weighed in at just over 186 carats, a monster of a diamond but disappointing in appearance. Under the direction of Albert, the Prince Consort, the decision was taken to recut it, and Messrs Coster of Amsterdam were given the job. Thirty eight days and £8,000 later it emerged as an “oval brilliant” weighing just under 109 carats – a vast 42 per cent reduction in weight. Albert like Aurungzeb was unimpressed (but not angry enough to think of seriously considered to beheading him like the Mughal) by the radical reduction; the cutter had had five flaws of Venetian Hortensio Borgio to contend with and carried out his task to perfection.
Reborn, the stone was first mounted in a tiara for the Queen containing more than 2,000 diamonds, before being incorporated in the coronation crown of Queen Mary in 1911. In 1937 the Koh-i-Noor was transferred to a crown made for the Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI. There it remains to this day, set into a Maltese Cross. When the Queen Mother died in 2002 the crown was placed on her coffin for her lying in state.