For the past sixty-seven years, the citizens of India have embraced their country’s independence all the while seeking to regain their past. Prior to this renewed sense of freedom, India had belonged to the British Empire. From 1858 to 1947, the British government claimed India and its inhabitants as a colonial possession. Before the British Empire laid claim to the vastness of India, the British East India Company helped to oversee the transfer of the Kohinoor Diamond from the Sikh Empire to their motherland in 1851.
Fought over for centuries and claimed by many, the owner of this diamond only yields it to another at the cost of an empire. Believed to have originated from the depths of an ancient Indian mine, the Kohinoor Diamond is a missing link to an illustrious past of a fledgling modern nation. Since its independence, Indians, both in the Republic of India and those who reside throughout the Commonwealth, have demanded the return of the sacred jewel. A demand the British government has continually refused. For the British, the diamond is also a reminder of their renowned past when the sun never set upon their domain. Forever covered in the blood of its past owners, men and nations will continually fight one another, rather with words or war, just for the opportunity to hold the cursed gemstone.
Brief History of the Gemstone
Against the backdrop of war with an ever expanding colonizer, a young dethroned king finds himself spirited away to a foreign land. Standing face to face with his conqueror and new sovereign, the Queen of England, the young king surrenders the Kohinoor Diamond into the hands of his victor, a spoil of war. Not long after, in 1877, Queen Victoria obtains the title Empress of India. This is the historical snapshot that captures two moments in time, one of national glory and another of a nation who struggles with a festering wound. For the Republic of India, the wound still brings with it a grimace of pain with no end in sight.
The history of a country does not restrict itself to merely the actions of its ancestors. It is from the continual revival of past moments of greatness that often illuminates the history of a state. These moments of ancestral greatness often become cast into great works of art, such as cultural artifacts and literature, in order to breathe renewed life into them. These works of fine art carry with them a multitude of values. To the culture who crafted them, they are often priceless. To others who lay claim to them by conquest, they represent a golden age of power. Finally, for those who steal them away, the object merely becomes valuable in monetary terms. The Kohinoor Diamond falls into the first two categories for five different nations: Afghanistan, Great Britain, India, Iran, and Pakistan. Of those five, India has invested the greatest amount of resources in a continued attempt to regain their lost treasure, a treasure the British have held onto for over one and a half centuries.