Britain tells India that it will not return the Koh-i-Noor diamond


Blackleaf
#1
British Prime Minister David Cameron has rejected Indian calls for the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond.

The diamond, which is a part of the British Crown Jewels, was seized by the British East India Company in 1849 and was presented to Queen Victoria, who was the Empress of India. The last person to wear the diamond was the Queen Mother and it was displayed on top of her crown when her coffin lay in state after her death in March 2002.

Last year, Mahatma Gandhi's ungrateful grandson said Britain should return the diamond to India as an "atonement" for its colonial past, ignoring the fact that India would not be as great a country today were it not for British rule.

But, speaking during his recent visit to India, the British PM, who has taken a tough stance during his visits abroad, told Indians that if treasures were to be sent back to their country of origin then the British Museum (and most major museums around the world) would become almost empty.

"If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty," he said. "I think I am afraid to say, to disappoint all your viewers, it is going to have to stay put."

Also making a very good point is historian Dr Anna Keay, who told the BBC that since its creation, the diamond had had many different owners, being in Persian and Afghan as well as Indian hands since the 16th century and hasn't been in India since the 1730s. Surely Afghanistan and Persia would have as great a claim on the diamond as India.

"The question is to which point do you take it back," she said.

The Koh-i-Noor diamond is hardly the only foreign object in a museum. If the Koh-i-Noor diamind should be in an Indian museum because it was once Indian (though it hasn't always been) then all the Egyptian mummies around the world should be sent back to Egypt.

Koh-i-Noor diamond 'staying put' in UK says Cameron


The diamond was worn by the late Queen Mother

David Cameron has rejected calls for the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, which has been part of the Crown Jewels for 150 years, to be returned to India.

The diamond, which was mined in India, was seized by the East India Company in 1849 and presented to Queen Victoria.

Indian politicians have long urged the 105-carat treasure's return.

But asked about the issue during his trip to India, Mr Cameron said such a move would set an unworkable precedent and it was "staying put".

The diamond fell into British hands as part of the Treaty of Lahore (which marked the end of Britain's 1845/46 war against the Sikh Empire), which saw Britain take control of Punjab.

'Atonement'

It was last worn by the late Queen Mother and was displayed on top of her crown when her coffin lay in state after her death in 2002.

Last year Tushar Gandhi, the great grandson of independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, said it should be returned as "atonement for the colonial past".

But Mr Cameron - who is on a two-day visit to India - told the Indian TV channel NDTV this would not be happening.

"It is very hard to see a convincing argument for the diamond to go back to India where it hasn't been since the 1730s

Dr Anna Keay, Historian

"If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty," he said. "I think I am afraid to say, to disappoint all your viewers, it is going to have to stay put."

Among other disputes over famous artefacts, Greece has for many years called for the return of the Elgin Marbles, removed from the Parthenon some 200 years ago and taken to London by the Earl of Elgin.

One expert on the Crown Jewels said, by definition, all diamonds produced before the mid-18th Century were of Indian origin since no other country mined them.

'Cultural exchange'

But historian Dr Anna Keay told the BBC that since its creation, the diamond had had many different owners, being in Persian and Afghan as well as Indian hands.

"The crucial thing is this diamond has been in circulation certainly since the beginning of the 16th Century during which time it has been in the hands of whole sequence of different rulers," told Radio 4's Today programme.

"The question is to which point do you take it back."

The historical case for repatriating the diamond to India was not particularly "sensible", she said, and it was "very unlikely" to happen.

"Either you take the view that objects should stay in the country from which they artistically or geologically sprang.

"Or you say things, through the passage of time and circumstances, change hands and that is the nature of cultural exchange.

"In that case, it is very hard to see a convincing argument for the diamond to go back to India where it hasn't been since the 1730s."

news.bbc.co.uk
Last edited by Blackleaf; Aug 4th, 2010 at 01:05 PM..
 
coldstream
#2
The repatriation of national treasures, of however dubious provenance, is almost always tossed out by aspiring politicians. It gets a gut reaction at home, rekindling past injuries and slights.. and links them inextricably with the nation's independence movement and founders. They are well aware that they have almost no hope of succeeding, but all the better since it serves to cultivate a grudge.. and advance their careers.
 
lone wolf
Free Thinker
#3
Funny how some folk can make it sound like it should be an honour to be pillaged and plundered by gentlemen of such self-importance....
 
EagleSmack
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolf View Post

Funny how some folk can make it sound like it should be an honour to be pillaged and plundered by gentlemen of such self-importance....

At least folks are starting to give the Egyptians their Kings and Queens back. Can you imagine if the bodies Brit Royalty was sitting in Cairo Museums for all to see?

With regards to the US Civil War, the Southern States had all but 1 Battle Flag returned to their state of origin.

The final holdout is Minnesota. At Gettysburg, a soldier from the 1st Minnesota wrestled the battle flag of the 28th Virginia away from those pesky Rebs and Minnesota simply refuses to give it back to this day. Minnesota says it is just as much a part of their history as it is Virginia's.
 
ironsides
No Party Affiliation
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

At least folks are starting to give the Egyptians their Kings and Queens back. Can you imagine if the bodies Brit Royalty was sitting in Cairo Museums for all to see?

With regards to the US Civil War, the Southern States had all but 1 Battle Flag returned to their state of origin.

The final holdout is Minnesota. At Gettysburg, a soldier from the 1st Minnesota wrestled the battle flag of the 28th Virginia away from those pesky Rebs and Minnesota simply refuses to give it back to this day. Minnesota says it is just as much a part of their history as it is Virginia's.

Now this is a good piece of trivia.
 
AnnaG
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

The diamond, which is a part of the British Crown Jewels, was seized by the British East India Company in 1849 and was presented to Queen Victoria, who was the Empress of India. The last person to wear the diamond was the Queen Mother and it was displayed on top of her crown when her coffin lay in state after her death in March 2002.

Thieves n cads.

Quote: Originally Posted by coldstream View Post

The repatriation of national treasures, of however dubious provenance, is almost always tossed out by aspiring politicians. It gets a gut reaction at home, rekindling past injuries and slights.. and links them inextricably with the nation's independence movement and founders. They are well aware that they have almost no hope of succeeding, but all the better since it serves to cultivate a grudge.. and advance their careers.

Got anything I might like to steal off you?

Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

At least folks are starting to give the Egyptians their Kings and Queens back. Can you imagine if the bodies Brit Royalty was sitting in Cairo Museums for all to see?

With regards to the US Civil War, the Southern States had all but 1 Battle Flag returned to their state of origin.

The final holdout is Minnesota. At Gettysburg, a soldier from the 1st Minnesota wrestled the battle flag of the 28th Virginia away from those pesky Rebs and Minnesota simply refuses to give it back to this day. Minnesota says it is just as much a part of their history as it is Virginia's.

Cool, but it's only a flag. Sheeeeesh
 
shadowshiv
Free Thinker
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaG View Post


Cool, but it's only a flag. Sheeeeesh

Not to the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. How many ended up dying for that flag?
 
AnnaG
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by shadowshiv View Post

Not to the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. How many ended up dying for that flag?

I know, I know. Symbolism and all that. Just making fun. BL's posts seem to instigate the devil in me. lol
 
EagleSmack
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by AnnaG View Post


Cool, but it's only a flag. Sheeeeesh

To some but during the Civil War (and other earlier wars) losing your flag sucked and getting their flag rocked. After the war was over the Yanks eventually gave them back their flags except Minnesota kept one and Virginia is STILL pissed about it!

The charge of the 1st Minnesota on the second day at Gettysburg basically saved the day in that area of the battlefield. It decimated the unit but they blunted the Rebel assault and got the 28th VA's Battle Flag.
 
AnnaG
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

To some but during the Civil War (and other earlier wars) losing your flag sucked and getting their flag rocked. After the war was over the Yanks eventually gave them back their flags except Minnesota kept one and Virginia is STILL pissed about it!

The charge of the 1st Minnesota on the second day at Gettysburg basically saved the day in that area of the battlefield. It decimated the unit but they blunted the Rebel assault and got the 28th VA's Battle Flag.

I know, I know. Symbolism and all that. Just making fun. BL's posts seem to instigate the devil in me. lol
 
Bar Sinister
No Party Affiliation
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

At least folks are starting to give the Egyptians their Kings and Queens back. Can you imagine if the bodies Brit Royalty was sitting in Cairo Museums for all to see?

With regards to the US Civil War, the Southern States had all but 1 Battle Flag returned to their state of origin.

The final holdout is Minnesota. At Gettysburg, a soldier from the 1st Minnesota wrestled the battle flag of the 28th Virginia away from those pesky Rebs and Minnesota simply refuses to give it back to this day. Minnesota says it is just as much a part of their history as it is Virginia's.

To the winners go the spoils.