CONTRIBUTION BY DALL SINGH IN CANADA:
JACKALS HAVE COME TO CLAIM THE LION’S DIAMOND!
“The Sunday Telegraph”, London, November 8, 2015.
(Quote) Queen faces fight to keep the Koh-i-Noor diamond
By Robert Mendick and Robert Verkaik
THE Queen is facing a legal challenge for the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond.
The 105-carat stone, said to have been mined I India up to 800 years ago is set in the crown of the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and is on public display in the Tower of London.
However, a powerful cabal of Indian business men and Bollywood film stars want it back, claiming the gem was stolen by the British in 1849.
The legal action will be potentially embarrassing for the monarchy, as its launch has been deliberately timed to coincide with a lunch hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace later this week for Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister.
The Indian lobbying group has instructed British lawyers to begin proceedings in the High Court to force the Government to return the diamond.
Members of the group insist it is an important piece of Indian heritage.
The Koh-i-Noor which means “mountain of light”, was once the largest cut diamond in the world and had been passed down from one ruling dynasty to another in India.
But after the British colonisation of the Punjab in 1849 the Marquis of Dalhousie, the British Governor-General, arranged for it to be presented to Queen Victoria.
The last Sikh ruler, Duleep Singh, a 13-yeear-old boy, was made to travel more than 4,000 miles in 1850 to hand the gem to the Queen- a moment regarded by Sikhs in India as a national humiliation.
The British law firm instructed by the campaigners, calling themselves the Mountain of Light group, said it would be seeking to mount its case on the back of the legal principles enshrined in British law that give institutions the power to return stolen art.
David de Souza, co-founder of the Indian leisure group Titos, who is helping to fund the legal action, said: “The Koh-i-Noor is one of the 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.”
Bhumika Singh, a Bollywood actress backing the campaign, said: “Koh-i-Noor is not just a 105-carat piece of stone. It has a lot of history and culture attached to it, and undoubtedly should be returned to India.”
The campaign has gained momentum in recent months, winning support from – among others – Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the home affairs select committee.
Mr Modi is said to be sympathetic to the rights to the claim, but it is understood that the diamond is strictly off the agenda for this week’s visit.
The Government has rejected all demands for the return of Koh-i-Noor, and in 2013 David Cameron, visiting India, defended Britain’s right to keep it. (Unquote)
OBJECTION BY SIKHS:
Reg. RETURN OF KOH-I-NOOR TO INDIA (Newspaper cutting enclosed)
We are very unhappy about The Right Hon’ble Mr Keith Vaz, MP, supporting the return of the diamond to India.
India has, and had, NOTHING to do with it.
The Kingdom of the Punjab, from where it was taken by the British, was then a sovereign State while India was in abject slavery, being ruled under the Islamic Sharia Law by a Mohammedan Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, a Mogul whose Afghan ancestors had invaded India.
The then powerful King of the Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh (known as “Lion of the Punjab”), whose army conquered the Khyber Pass after defeating the Afghans, wrested the “Koh-i-Noor” from the marauding Afghan ruler.
Earlier, it had come into the possession of Babur, who invaded India and established the Mughal Empire in 1526. Then it came into the possession of his successors, Humayun, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb, who were by no means “Indian”.
In 1830, Shujāh Shāh Durrānī, the descendant of Ahmad Shah Durrani, managed to flee with the diamond to Lahore where the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh forced him to surrender the stone and took its possession.
On 29 March 1849, the British raised their flag on the citadel of Lahore, capital of the powerful Sikh Kingdom, and the Punjab was formally proclaimed part of the British Company rule in India. The Treaty of Lahore says, “The gem called the Koh-i-Noor which was surrendered by Shah Shuja-ul-Mulk to Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and then surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koh-i-Noor)
In 1947 Lahore was surrendered unconditionally by India to the newly established Islamic State of Pakistan that, theoretically, could also claim the diamond! But since it was taken from the Sikh ruler Duleep Singh, son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, it will rightly belong to the Royal Sikh Durbar of Lahore, whenever it is established in the future.
India’s current (ludicrous) border, running between Lahore and Amritsar, was drawn in 1947 without consulting the Sikhs, inheritors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Kingdom & possessions.
It is shocking to note that Mr Keith Vaz, MP, has taken a plunge in the volatile Indian politics of which he has little knowledge apart from his likely wish to replace Mr. Modi by Ms. Maino as prime minister.
Mr Vaz, born in Yemen, who has lived in this country for long, cannot understand the fact that Indian politics are exclusively based on religion that was the ONLY criterion used to divide India into three fragments in 1947.
He would be unable to grasp, or comprehend, the deep trauma suffered by the Sikhs on account of- (1) India’s inconclusive Partition, (2) the unconditional surrender of Lahore (without consulting the Sikhs), (3) the brutal ethnic cleansing of the Sikhs, the legitimate heirs to the throne of the Sikh Kingdom, in West Punjab in 1947, (4) the politically motivated sacrilegious military onslaught on the Sikhs’ holiest shrine in Amritsar in June 1984 by the arrogant, sectarian and dictatorial prime minister Indira Gandhi, and (5) the Sikh genocide after her assassination when not 2,000 but more than 6,000 Sikhs were massacred in the most savage and brutal manner in Delhi and across Northern India. We don’t recall Mr Vaz having taken note of any of these State-inspired tragic events involving the Sikhs.
Mr Vaz was a close friend of Rajiv Gandhi (of Nehru Dynasty that made a mockery of democracy, and of ‘Bofors commission’ notoriety!). He was extraordinarily given the honour by Mr. Gandhi to address both (captive) Houses of Parliament in New Delhi.
It, therefore, seems wrong of Messrs David de Souza and Keith Vaz to say that Koh-i-Noor should go to India without understanding the complex history of Northern India.
It appears that both Messrs David de Souza and Keith Mr Vaz wish to embarrass the hosts of Mr. Modi in London during his visit in a few days’ time. It also seems a cheap & indecent political gimmick to embarrass Mr. Modi back home. The political opportunists of Bollywood, notorious for tomfoolery and running down Hindu/Sikh image and mocking the native culture of the land, need not be taken seriously at all.
Throughout its history this unique diamond remained in possession of the brave (Afghans and the Sikhs). It ought to stay with the brave- right here in London. What an irony that the despicable cowards (“rats & jackals”) who tucked their tails between their legs and RAN AWAY from the defence of Lahore, betraying its citizens and Secularism in 1947, are now, joined by modern day Guy Fawkes, keen on the diamond that once belonged to the “Lion of Punjab”, Maharaja Ranjit Singh!
The demand by the opportunists & cowards (called “a powerful cabal of Indian business men and Bollywood film stars” by “The Sunday Telegraph”), ought to be summarily rejected.
Encl: Cutting from “The Sunday Telegraph”, London, dated November 8, 2015.