Supreme Court Says Can't Order UK To Return Kohinoor, Here's Everything You Need To Know About 'Mountain of Light'

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 17:08 IST

Kohinoor, which means Mountain of Light, is a large, colourless diamond that was found in Southern India in early 14th century.

Supreme Court Says Can't Order UK To Return Kohinoor, Here's Everything You Need To Know About 'Mountain of Light'
Kohinoor was mined in medieval times in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district

The Supreme Court has said that it cannot pass an order for reclaiming the Kohinoor from the United Kingdom or to stop it from being auctioned.

Disposing of a plea seeking directions to bring back the treasured diamond to India, a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said it cannot ask a foreign government not to auction a property.

The court made it clear it could not pass an order with regard to a property which was in another country.

Kohinoor, which means Mountain of Light, is a large, colourless diamond that was found in Southern India in early 14th century.

It was mined in medieval times in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur district and was first mentioned in a Sanskrit script, where it was referred as the Syamantaka.

After that, it remained in oblivion for several hundred years and got mentioned in 1304. According to historians, it was in the possession of the Rajas of Malwa, though it was still not christened Kohinoor.

'Koh-i-Noor' Mountain of Light

Around this period, a curse was placed on the men who will wear the diamond: “He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”

Nothing was mentioned about the shining stone for a long period and it’s first verified mention was made in Baburmama, the writings of Mughal Ruler, Babur in 1526.

The diamond remained with the family till 1739, when Persian general Nadir Shah defeated Mahamad, the grandson of Aurangzeb – who was one of the descendants of Babur.

Nadir Shah took the stone with him to Persia and gave the diamond its current name, Koh-i-noor meaning ‘Mountain of light’. Eight years later, Shah was assassinated and the diamond got to one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani.

Shah Shuja Durrani, a descendant of Ahmad Shah, brought the diamond back to India (Punjab) in 1813 and gave it to Maharaja Ranjit Singh – the founder of the Sikh empire.

In exchange, he helped Shah Shuja get back the throne of Afghanistan.

In 1849, the British won the second Anglo-Sikh War and confiscated the properties of the Sikh Empire.

The Koh-i-noor was transferred to the treasury of the British East India Company in Lahore.

The Queen wore Kohinoor occasionally

The Governor General, Lord Dalhousie sent the diamond to Britain in 1850 and was exhibited at the Crystal Palace a year later. Disappointed with the stone’s shine and appearance, Queen Victoria to reshape the diamond and it was taken to a Dutch jeweler, Cantor who cut it to 108.93 carats.

It took him 38 days to make the final product and during this process the weight of stone was reduced by 42 per cent.

The Queen wore the diamond occasionally and later left a will that the Kohinoor only be worn by a female queen.

Today, the Koh-i-noor is kept with other precious objects of the British Crown in a round display case in the basement of the ‘Jewel House’, of the Tower of London.