The British Prime Minister David Cameron’s unequivocal stand that the priceless Kohinoor will not be returned to its original owner India has put paid to the hopes of more than 100 crore people of this country.
‘If you say yes to one you suddenly find the British Museum would be empty’, the British Prime Minister said to the disappointment of over a billion people of this earlier British colony.
The invaluable diamond was taken to England in 1849 after the defeat of the ruler of the Punjab region, Maharaja Duleep Singh, and the annexation of the Punjab. As part of the Treaty of Lahore settlement, the diamond was surrendered to Queen Victoria. It was last worn in public by the late queen mother and last seen set inside the Maltese Cross on the crown placed on top of the coffin at her funeral.
Ever since India became Independent, the nation has been making several requests to British administration to return the diamond, whose exact value is not calculated yet, to India.
But, Briton has been resisting the Indian demand. Prior to the British Prime Minister’s ongoing visit to India, the Indian-origin British member of Parliament Keith Vaz, who is also the Labour chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, had said that the time had come to return the diamond to India as an atonement for its colonial past. Vaz said the return of the treasure to India would give meaning to the new coalition government’s desire to enter into a new era of partnership with India. “This will certainly convey a new age of Indo-British relations. The prime minister will certainly win the hearts of all Indians if he is prepared to discuss the display of the Kohinoor in India itself, and possibly even its permanent return,” he had said.
Keith’s statement had infused some hope and confidence among the Indians that the time has come to receive the priceless Kohinoor back from Briton.
What made the British Prime Minister’s statement more painful is that he has left no hope for future negotiations on the matter. It would have been better if he had said that the issue would be considered.