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Lahore High Court okays plea to bring back Koh-i-Noor from U.K.

Lahore High Court has accepted a petition seeking direction to the government to bring back Koh-i-Noor from British Queen Elizabeth-II.

The plea filed by a barrister made Pakistan’s claim over the 105-carat gem on the basis that it hailed from the territory that became Pakistan in 1947. In December last year, the registrar office’s had dismissed the plea terming it as non-maintainable and said that the court had no jurisdiction to hear the case against the British Queen Elizabeth II.

Kohinoor- timeline

  • It is believed that the diamond was first mentioned more than 5000 years ago in a Sanskrit script, where it was called the Syamantaka. After this first written mention, for over 4,000 years the diamond is not mentioned.
  • However, another theory considers Koh-i-Noor to be mined in medieval times in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district. The diamond was originally owned by the Kakatiya Dynasty, which had installed it in a temple of a Hindu goddess as her eye.
  • Up until 1304 the diamond was in the possession of the Rajas of Malwa, but back then, the diamond was still not named Kohinoor. In 1304, it belonged to the Emperor of Delhi, Allaudin Khilji.
  • In 1339, the diamond was taken back to the city of Samarkand, where it stayed for almost 300 years.
  • In 1526 the Mogul ruler Babur mentions the diamond in his writings, Baburmama. The diamond was gifted to him by the Sultan Ibrahim Lodi.
  • The Persian general Nadir Shah went to India in 1739 and conquered the throne and hence the Khinoor. He gave the diamond its current name, Koh-i-noor meaning “Mountain of light”.
  • But Nadir Shah did not live for long, because in 1747 he was assassinated and the diamond got to one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani.
  • A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Koh-i-noor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh.
  • In 1849, after the conquest of the Punjab by the British forces, the Koh-i-noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore.
  • The diamond was handed to Queen Victoria in July 1850.
  • The diamond became part of the crown of incumbent Queen Elizabeth-II in 1953.
  • The Koh-i-Noor is one of the Crown Jewels and is now on display in the Tower of London.

India’s demand for Koh-i-Noor

India has made regular attempt considering it to be an integral part of the country’s history and culture.

  • In 1997, during Queen Elizabeth II’s state visit to India, many Indians demanded the return of the diamond.
  • In November, 2015, British Indian MP Keith Vaz had called for the return of ‘Koh-i-Noor’ diamond to India ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the U.K.

However, Britain has consistently rejected India’s claims on ‘Koh-i-Noor’. In 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron, during his visit to India, had said in an interview on Indian television: “What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty.” This amply shows the “fear factor” of UK, as it will encourage pool of demands from erstwhile colonies.

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