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Modi Govt's Statement On India Giving The Kohinoor To The British Is 'Strikingly Unhistoric', Says William Dalrymple

"Symbol of looting of colonial times."

12/12/2016 10:17 AM IST | Updated 12/12/2016 10:59 AM IST
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Refuting the widely circulated narrative of the Kohinoor being gifted to the British in the middle of the 19th century, William Dalrymple, historian and author, has argued that the world famous diamond was forcibly removed from India.

Dalrymple, co-author of the recently published Kohinoor: The Story of the World's Most Infamous Diamond, has also refuted the Modi government's submission that the Kohinoor was "neither stolen nor forcibly taken by British rulers."

In April, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor was "given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars."

"This is an unhistorical statement, strikingly unhistoric," Dalrymple told IANS, while describing the diamond as a "symbol of looting of colonial times."

Dalrymple and his co-author, Anita Anand, have pieced together that the diamond was not gifted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who was already dead when the diamond was removed from India. Instead, the authors believe that the British took it from his frightened son, 10-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh, on March 29, 1849.

Anand told IANS that the British felt "uneasy" about how the diamond was removed from India. "There was some feeling that it was immoral. They felt guilty. The Queen felt so guilty that she didn't wear it," she said.

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