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News18 » India
2-min read

At Home During Coronavirus, This Heritage-Lover MP is Working to Bring Kohinoor Diamond Back to India

Originally a part of the Mughal throne, the 105.6 carat-diamond has been owned by many since then. It is presently in possession of the British empire.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:March 23, 2020, 2:48 PM IST
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Kohinoor diamond
File photo of Kohinoor diamond (Picture courtesy: Getty Images)

Kolkata: This TMC MP has an interesting way to spend time during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, a Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, is silently 'sleuthing' to get the infamous diamond 'Koh-i-noor' back to India, from Queen Elizabeth II.

Voluntarily locked down at his home due to the COVID-19 disease, the septuagenarian 'heritage activist' is writing a book on the Kohinoor, which also happens to be his favourite subject.

"I have officially taken leave from the parliament due to this pandemic. Considering my age and the virus, I am not going to attend rest of the parliament session," he says.

Due to his usual duties and responsibilities, Roy says, he wasn't able to focus much on his personal heritage work. "Now, I am staying indoors and have ample time to work on my book on Kohinoor.”

Just like most of us, Roy is also engaged in writing to deviate his mind from the worry that coronavirus has propelled across the world.

"I am conducting a lot of historical research, especially on why India should work to take back the diamond from Britain," he says, adding that the initial pages of his book detail how Kohinoor was wrongly taken away from India.

According to him, it is wrong to believe that Maharaja Duleep Singh had gifted the diamond to the Queen of England. He sites old documents to verify this claim.

"I had filed a PIL in this regard in the Supreme Court but my case was tagged with another and the whole matter was diluted," he says.

"We have copies of treaties dating back to 1846 and 1849, which clearly mention that Maharaja Duleep Singh (then 11-years old) had to surrender the Kohinoor diamond to the Queen of England as the entire estate of the Maharaja was confiscated," he says.

Roy reasons that if the estate -- including the diamond -- was confiscated, it could not be considered a gift to the Queen of England.

“We have gone through some documents which prove that Singh wrote a letter to the Times editor in London in August 1882, seeking justice from the UK government over his personal belongings, including his jewels, being confiscated by Lord Dalhousie, after he seized Punjab," Roy says.

He points out that these are serious notes, as he is "trying to bring out all the aspects in my book".

Mythological stories of Lord Krishna also mention the existence of this diamond, he adds.

The Kohinoor is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world, weighing 105.6 carats. It is part of the British Crown Jewels.

It is widely speculated that the diamond was mined at the Kollur Mine in Andhra Pradesh during the period of the Delhi Sultanate.

Originally a part of the Mughal throne, the diamond has been owned by many since then. It is presently in possession of the British empire.

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