Within hours of the death of Queen Elizabeth II being announced by Buckingham Palace, tens of thousands of tweets about the crown jewels made the word “Kohinoor” trending in India. Many of the tweets that used the term, including dozens of responses to Narendra Modi’s tribute to the late Queen, asked Britain to give back the Kohinoor diamond, which is one of the world’s largest and most controversial.
Kohinoor, which can also be written as Koh-i-Noor, is a 105-carat gem whose Persian name means “mountain of light.” The Queen Mother’s crown, which is on display at the Tower of London, has the stone set in it. The diamond has been at the centre of political and legal problems in India because of disagreements over who owns it. Both India and Pakistan have made claims to it.
It is still a problem between India and the UK because many Indians think that the diamond, which was found in India in the 14th century, was “stolen” by the British during the colonial era. Before it ended up in the British crown jewels, the diamond was owned by many rulers, including Rajputs, Mughal princes, Iranian warriors, Afghan rulers, and Punjabi Maharajas.
According to the UK Royal Palace
Before it was given to the British monarchy in 1849, the Kohinoor was found in the Golconda mines in the centre of southern India. It was added to Queen Victoria’s crown jewels, along with hundreds of other gems that are said to have a cultural, historical, and symbolic value that can’t be measured and are still part of the royal collection.
The crown was made in 1937 for Queen Elizabeth, who was married to King George VI, to wear at his coronation on May 12, 1937. It has a purple velvet cap and ermine trim. Its platinum frame is covered with 2,800 diamonds. The band is made up of groups of diamonds shaped like crosses and rectangles, with single rows of brilliant-cut diamonds around the edges.
Folklore says that the Kohinoor is cursed because of its bloody, 750-year history of murder, megalomania, and betrayal. On Thursday night and Friday, many Indians on social media asked the royal family to return the jewel because the second Elizabethan era was coming to an end.
From India to England. “It should go back to where it came from. It’s the least the UK can do after centuries of taking advantage of, oppressing, and enslaving the people of the Indian subcontinent,” said Twitter user Anushree.
Journey of #Kohinoor 💎: From India to England.
It should come back to its origin, the least UK can do towards the centuries of exploitation, opression, racism, slavery inflicted on people of the Indian subcontinent. pic.twitter.com/W7zHBLKOaf
— Anushree 🇮🇳 (@AnushreeSays_) September 8, 2022
“Today, Queen Elizabeth died… Can we get the #Kohinoor Diamondback? It was taken from India by the British. They got rich by causing people to die, go hungry, burn down their homes, and steal from them,” Vivek Singh, another user, said. Several people asked Mr. Modi and President Droupadi Murmu, who also paid tribute to the Queen after her death, to officially ask for the Kohinoor to be sent back to India.
In his tribute, Mr. Modi said, “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as a rock of our time.” She led her country and people in a way that was inspiring. She was a model of respectability in public life. Hurt by her death. In this sad time, my thoughts are with her family and the people of UK.”
I had memorable meetings with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during my UK visits in 2015 and 2018. I will never forget her warmth and kindness. During one of the meetings she showed me the handkerchief Mahatma Gandhi gifted her on her wedding. I will always cherish that gesture. pic.twitter.com/3aACbxhLgC
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 8, 2022
In 2016, the diamond was at the centre of a court case because an NGO asked the court to tell the Indian government to bring the diamond back. At the time, the solicitor-general, who spoke for India’s government, said that the diamond was a “gift” from the former rulers of Punjab to the East India Company in 1849 and that it had not been stolen or taken by force.
But later, the government changed its mind, and the Indian ministry of culture “reiterated its resolve to make all possible efforts to bring back the Kohinoor Diamond in a peaceful way.” For now, the crown with the Kohinoor stones will probably be worn by Camilla, who used to be the Duchess of Cornwall but is now the Queen Consort and is married to King Charles.