“The Koh-i-Noor is one of the many artefacts taken from India under dubious circumstances. Colonisation did not only rob our people of wealth, it destroyed the country’s psyche itself. It brutalised society, traces of which linger on today in the form of mass poverty, lack of education and a host of other factors.”
He is helping to fund the new legal action and has instructed British lawyers to begin High Court proceedings.
Kohinoor was mined at Kollur Mine (Andhra Pradesh). It was originally owned by Kakatiya dynasty and was passed down from one dynasty to another in India.
But in 1849, on the orders of Marquess of Dalhousie, the British Governor-General, it was decided to present it to Queen Victoria.
The last Sikh ruler, Duleep Singh, a 13-year-old boy, travelled to Britain to hand the gem to Queen Victoria.
However, it won’t be easy. Historian Andrew Roberts said:
“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.”
Keith Vaz, Indian-origin Labour Party MP, has also supported the campaign. He said, “What a wonderful moment it would be, if when PM Modi finishes his visit, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond’s return.”
Earlier in 2013, when British Prime Minister David Cameron visited India, he said that it is Britain’s right keep the diamond and he did not believe in ‘returnism’.