Whose Kohinoor Is It, In Any Case?
The Supreme Court should determine why the absence of the Kohinoor from India so incensed the All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front that it has filed a petition for its return. Surely, the outfit should be more concerned with wrongfully incarcerated and/or ill-treated humans rather than an inanimate hunk of colourless carbon reposing in a crown in the Tower of London. Even if the right of diamonds to reside in dignity is an issue that should take up the precious time of our judiciary, the question is moot whether the Kohinoor would be better off in India than its current luxurious and fortified abode, where it is admired daily by hordes of tourists, many of them Indian. Besides, if Britain ever concedes that Kohinoor should return to its “rightful” home, international courts may have to decide where exactly that is. After all, the British got it from the Lahore treasury of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who had received it from the Afghan Shah Shuja, whose ancestor Ahmed Shah Abdali obtained it from the Persian ruler Nadir Shah, who had grabbed it from the defeated Mughal emperor Mohammed Shah in Delhi, and so on. And if, as some believe, the Kohinoor was mined in Kollur and belonged to the Kakatiya kings of Warangal, would Andhra Pradesh have first claim or its current state, Telangana?