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Kohinoor

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KohinoorBy:Munaza Kazmi

Kohinoor, one of the most coveted and valuable diamonds of all times. This dazzlingly beautiful rare jewel has been in the eye of the storm ever since it left the hands of its original owners, the Kakatiyas of Warangal. Never bought or sold, the fabled diamond changed many hands as it traveled through several dynasties.

Kohinoor found reference in Sanskrit script some 5000 years ago. According to Hindu belief, Kohinoor was Surya’s gift, “Syamantaka” with the saying, “This gemstone will bring you great fortune. Where there is need, it will produce eight times its weight in gold per day. As long as you properly honor this gift, it will bring you wealth and good health. No tragedy shall befall you.” 

To the known history, its origins are somehow ambiguous, however it is generally agreed that the fascinating diamond is mined from Golconda mines, South India around 625 AD under King Pulakesi ll and later owned by Kakatiya dynasty, who fixed Kohinoor in the eye of idol in Vijayanagara temple (Bhagrakali temple).

Later, we found it’s marks in Amir Khusrau’s (1253-1324) “Khazainul Futu”, in which Sultan Alauddin Khalji (1229-1316), took away the Kohinoor from the temple.

Going further it can be said that whichever king had it in its possession, met an early death, in fact, the stone is a harbinger of misfortune and bloodshed although precious. Seeing the Khilji’s account who took away the prized Kohinoor to Delhi as loot, no doubt with much bloodshed, Lodhi’s defeat at Paniput at the hands of Zahir-ud-din Babur in 1526, who described Kohinoor in Baburnama as Worth the value of one day’s food for all the people in the world”. Following Babur’s death in 1530 only 4 years after his arrival in India. 

Humayun’s forced exile in Persia in 1540, less than 10 years on throne. As said, “When worn by a clean man, it produces gold, but to an unclean person, it indubitably proves fatal”. Hence it brought the good fortune to Humayun, as it helped him regain the lost kingdom “Hindustan” with the help of Shah Tahmasp, who lost it later in the sands of Persia, while sending as a present to Nizam Shah.

Furthermore, the pages of history read the prosperity in the region of Akbar, as he ruled over 5 times the population commanded by the only rivals, the Ottomans- some 100 million subjects, controlling almost of all of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as eastern Afghanistan. The capitals were the megacities, they were second to none either in Asia or in Europe with regards to size, population, knowledge or wealth. In fact, they were the living embodiment of wealth and power. Later we can see as explained in Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, the rule of Jahangir (1569-1627) from the most rich throne; the well maintained and prosperous. The references reflect that, it was the period in which Kohinoor was missing hence the curse as it is said to be was overtaken.

The diamond return to the Mughal Empire when Prince Khurram, the future Shah Jahan was on the throne, who commissioned the infamous Taj Mahal and the Peacock Throne on which the Kohinoor was shining in its full glory. Earlier his region came to a dramatic premature end in 1657, when Shah Jahan suffered a stroke and his son Aurangzeb staged a skillful coup d’état and imprisoned his father in the Red Fort of Agra.

The act of arresting one’s own father seems really a forbidding impression, but in monarchy these things comes so often, however the reason still couldn’t support rightness. Though Aurangzeb possess natural gifts of high a high order, but his religious bigotry made him ill-suited to rule the mixed population of empire. All these ended in sprawling Mughal political structure. The Kohinoor was in his possession, so if it’s the curse of his inability to rule. 

However, in 1739, the Mughal Empire was still the wealthiest state in Asia, and Dehli was the most prosperous and magnificent city between Ottoman Istanbul and Imperial Edo. The region of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan was ruled from the Peacock Throne – with the Kohinoor glittering from of the top. However, its curse picked up when Nadir Shah plundered the city and slaughtered some 30,000 citizens, the worst day in Mughal history, and later on, took the Kohinoor from the Emperor Muhammad Shah to Persia along with as much as he could, on 700 elephants, 4,000 camels and 12,000 horses to meet a horrible death in his own bed. Here we can see first the captured and looting of the city, which is only because of the bad governance, since the historians report the, Dehli had massive force, 2 miles wide and 15 miles long, a sea of people, enough to conquer the world. Secondly the humiliating death of Nadir Shah, there I believe the gem had played its role, since he was filled with sordid avarice and responsible for Dehli massacre.

Afterwards, for possessing the Kohinoor there happened great deal of violence, and it passed to Ahmad Khan Abdali, he rarely lost a battle, but eventually died with a miserable fate. However, he himself acted in the much violent way, that would be a great reason for his picking the curse. Kohinoor then transferred to his heir Timur Shah, resulting losing most of his father’s conquered territories and an end with poison. Later, it came in the hands of Shah Zaman, that took him into dungeon. Subsequently, its next holder Shah Shuja, a deposed monarch, who experienced a prolonged period of humiliation and exile.

Eventually it was Maharaja Ranjit Singh where Kohinoor bestowed good fortune, the throne of Punjab bloomed, became coveted and feared by all. However, with the death of Ranjit Singh the curse picked up his heir’s one by one, no doubt their hearts were the place of ill deeds.             In 1843 this extraordinary gem finds its way to Duleep Singh second eldest son of Ranjit Singh, who couldn’t keep it for long, reasoning the colonial injustice and on 29 May 1849, India lost its Kohinoor.

On 6 April 1850, the Kohinoor loaded on to Her Majesty’s ship the Medea, which caught with a deadly cholera resulting in 135 deaths of crewmen, later for the treatment when it reached to the coast of Mauritians, it was refused to stop by. Next the ship meets with a heavy storm that threatened to snap in two: was that the dark curse. While the ship was entering the British territory, their Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel died by felling from a horse, Queen Victoria was attacked by a former British officer. Why not since it was stolen.

Great Britain, once the land where sun never sets, and today a tiny piece of land. Once the colonial power, today a lonely state. Moreover, a sudden death of princess Diana, troubling stories in the immediate royal family leading to the spilt of brothers. The immense deaths resulting the pandemic, and the caging of Kohinoor due to its powerful curse in Tower of London. Doesn’t it signal for the curse of Kohinoor.

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