Editoril

Rendezvous with Koh-i-Noor

” with Koh-i-Noor and Its journey from Goddess Bhadrakali Eye to Crown of British Queen” Ahhh…..this is Koh-i-Noor. I don’t know anyone here who doesn’t know this name. It’s Persian word meaning “Mountain of Light”.

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A text from the time of Koh-i-Noor’s first authenticated appearance in 1306 states that stone carries a curse lethal to male owners. It read: “Only God or a woman can wear it with impunity.”

Some people believe that Kohinoor is part of “Syamantaka Mani”. Sayamantaka Mani is mentioned in ancient Indian scripture “Bhagwatam”. Lord Krishna got this stone from King Satrajeet at the time of his marriage with Satrajeet daughter Satyabhama. Sun god gifted Syamantaka Mani to Satrajeet and it is said to produce gold equal to 8 bharas (approx. 77 kg ) every day. Lord Krishna insisted to had this stone in his city Dwarka all the time but it’s not mentioned that what happened to stone after Dwarka sank in the sea due to great Tsunami after Krishna death. Anyway, there are no historical facts to prove this story.

Known story of Kohinoor begun in Kakatiya Kingdom originally mined from Kollur Mine in the Guntur District of Andhra Pradesh in India. Kakatiya ruled this Kingdom of India between 1083 CE to 1323 CE and Orugallu (now Warangal) was its capital. King Pulakesi II of Chalukya dynasty around 625 AD to commemorate his victory over Vengi region of Andhra Desam, constructed Goddess Bhadrakali temple and later Kakatiyas kept this as left eye of the idol, when they adopted her as their “Kula Devatha” (Prime Deity) giving her preferences over other gods.

When the Tughlaq dynasty took over the Khilji dynasty in 1320 AD, Ghiyath al-Din Tughlaq sent his army chief Ulugh Khan in 1323 to defeat and take control of Kakatiya king Prataparrudra.

Ulugh Khan attack was repelled but he returned again with larger army. He conducted surprise attack this time and Kakatiya Kingdom lost the battle. This is how diamond was seized by army of the Tughlaq Sultanate from Delhi. It was transferred to Lodi Dynasty from Tughlaq Dynasty and finally came into the control of invader and dacoit Babur in 1526. Babur grabbed this diamond from Ibrahim Lodhi. Babur called the stone “the Diamond of Babur”. Humayun& Babur both mentioned this diamond in their memoir.

It is believed that this diamond is cursed because of its stolen identity from Goddess idol. Humayun had much bad luck throughout his life. Sher Shah Suri, who defeated Humayun, died in the flames of explosive. Humayun’s son, Akbar never kept the diamond with him and later Shah Jahan took it out of royal treasury.

Shah Jahan was overthrown by his own son, Aurangzeb. Shah Jahan, famous for building the TajMahal (Originally TejoMahalaya- A Hindu Temple) in Agra, had the stone placed into his ornate Peacock Throne. His son, Aurangazeb, imprisoned his ailing father at nearby Agra fort. While in the possession of Aurangzeb, It was cut by Hortenso Borgia, a Venetian (From Venice, Italy) lapidary, who was so clumsy that he reduced the weight of the stone to “186” cts, while the original diamond was “793” carats.

Legend has it that he the Kohinoor positioned near a window so that Shah Jahan could see the TajMahal only by looking at its reflection in the stone. Aurangazeb later brought it to his capital Lahore and placed it in his own personal Badshahi Mosque.

There it stayed until the invasion of Nadir Shah of Iran in 1739 and the sacking of Agra, and Delhi. Along with peacock throne, he also carried off the Kohinoor to Persia in 1739 where it got its name Koh-i-Noor. Koh-i-Noor was kept there in custody of Levien family. Levien family was serving as a royal jeweler of Nadir Shah in Persia.

Curse of Koh-i-Noor followed Nadir Sah and after his assassination in 1747, the stone came into the hands of his general, Ahmad Shah Durrani of Afghanistan. A 1757 miniature of Emir Ahmad Shah Durrani, in which the Kohinoor diamond is seen hanging on the front of his crown, above his forehead. In 1830, ShujahDurrani, the deposed ruler of Afghanistan, managed to feel with the diamond. He went to Lahore where Ranjit Singh forced him to surrender it.

Ranjit Singh was crowned ruler of the Punjab region. In 1829 on his death bed, according to custom in India, Ranjit Singh wished to donate the diamond to a temple. He wanted to donate it to Lord Jagannath of the Puri temple in Orissa. However, after his death in 1839 the British administration did not execute his will. On March 29, 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 so-called legal agreement formalizing this occupation, was as follows: “The gems called the Koh-i-Noor which was surrendered by Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk to Maharaja Ranjit Singh and then surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.“

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It’s clear that British deceived India and Indians. The Governor General in charge of the ratification for this treaty was Lord Dalhousie and he arranged that the diamond be presented by Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s young successor, Dilip Singh, to Queen Victoria in 1850. Dilip Singh was the youngest son of Ranjit Singh and his fifth wife Maharani JindKaur. Dilip, aged 13, traveled to the United Kingdom to present the jewel. The presentation of the Koh-i-Noor and the Timur ruby to Queen Victoria was the latest in the long history of transfers of the stones as a spoil of war.

All male Kings who owned it, died sooner than normal. After Goddess Bhadrakali, it was British Queen who possessed it for longer time without any harm, though British Empire started declining from 1857 AD (7 years after the diamond went to England).

Fearing the curse, the present Queen avoids wearing the Kohinoor diamond and instead wears the Imperial State Crown. But still British Wishes to keep this diamond in their collection even after losing multiple countries and colonies from their rule.

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This articles compiled and curated by passionate editorial team of Gems Muse.

Gems Muse Editorial Team

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