British Indian MP Keith Vaz, on Tuesday the 28th July 2015 has called for the world-famous 'Koh-I-Noor' diamond to be returned to India during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's UK visit in November. Vaz's comments were made in response to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's recent speech at the Oxford Union calling for the Britain to pay reparations to India for its 200 years of brutal colonial rule.
"I welcome Dr Tharoor's speech and the endorsement of its message by Prime Minister Modi. I share their views. These are genuine grievances which must be addressed. Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a campaign I have backed for many years," said Vaz, the longest serving British MP of Asian descent.
"What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi ends his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond's return," Vaz said.
Koh-I-Noor is considered to be one of the oldest and most famous diamonds in the world, with a long history. There have been demands for its return to India, most recently in 2013 when British Prime Minister Cameron visited India.
India has claimed the diamond and said that the Koh-I-Noor diamond was taken away illegally and that it should ought to be given back to India. When Queen Elizabeth II made a state visit to India for marking the 50th anniversary of independence in 1997, many Indians in India and Britain demanded the return of the diamond.
The Koh-I-Noor or Mountain of Light is a diamond that was mined at Kollur Mine, in the present state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It was originally 793 carats when uncut and is the largest known diamond. It is now a 105.6 metric carat diamond, weighing 21.6 grammes in its most recent cut state. In 1852, Albert the Prince Consort ordered it to be cut down from 186 carats. The diamond was originally owned by the Kakatiya dynasty, which had installed it in a temple of a Hindu goddess as her eye. The diamond was later confiscated from its original owners by various invaders. Today the diamond is a part of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth.
History dates its origin back to Babar’s time in 1526, whose ancestors acquired it from the Raja of Gwalior in the13th century. The diamond has seen several battles. In India it was mounted on the peacock throne, the Mughal throne of India but was later robbed by Nadir Shah who took the diamond to Persia in 1739. However, it found its way back to Punjab in 18th century, where Britishers spotted it. Since then, the diamond was used by several Queens and has become part of British Royal Family’s tradition.