Spreading misfortune

Spreading misfortune

Like many other artifacts, it would have disappeared without a trace.

The Kohinoor is going to stay where it is. Adorning the British Crown or the British museum. Taken away by the British, as the ‘leading light’, the ‘crest’ of their exploits and suzerainty over ‘Hindoostan’ , this 105 carat diamond, one of the worlds largest found its way into the royal collection.

With a tumultuous past behind it, having passed through many, many hands, having supposedly brought misfortune to its owners, having seen empires disintegrating under its ‘malefic’ power, having caused brother to execute brother, son to imprison father, this ‘mountain of light’, which the word Kohinoor means in Persian, this ‘Syamantakamani’ the fabled gem of Indian mythological lore finally mounted the British Royal crown, where it rests today, the crown of the crown jewels.

The Indians now want this back, their rightful, priceless heritage, this fabulous gift of Golconda mines of Andhra Pradesh. Everytime they see it, it is a painful reminder of their servile past, when they were subjugated by an invader who looted their country of its wealth . But the British refuse to return it. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out returning the Kohinoor, saying he does not believe in ‘returnism’ .

He vaguely says that it is for the respective countries to work together so that all people can share this well looked after treasure. “It’s not a sensible thing to do” he says. A really fine example of diplomatic vagueness.  Put more bluntly, all that it means is ‘might is right. Don’t ask where and how we got it.

Now that it is with us, it’s ours. What has been grabbed by brute force will stay with us’. Twenty first century global political and social  equations are one thing. Behind this façade of gentility, technological and scientific progress lies that most basic of human instincts, acquisitiveness, possessiveness and hoarding.

Now for some introspection.  Suppose the Kohinoor had stayed with us, in all likelihood in the collection of a princely state. Like so many other artifacts, it would have disappeared without a trace. And also would have been forgotten, until it mysteriously surfaced in some millionaires collection or on the auction table at Sotheby’s. Perchance it had escaped further vicissitudes and landed up in the National Museum.

It would have been the prized exhibit, bedazzling all by its grandeur and effulgence. Until some politician, finding himself in trouble and political wilderness and thirsty for some mileage would have a brainwave. Hey, this is ‘appata Andhra padarthamu’! It is a gift of ‘Telugu Thalli’. What is it doing in ‘Hindi deshamu’?

Thus would start a ‘bring back Kohinoor to Andhrabhoomi’ movement. Demonstrations, strikes, bundhs, students unrest, mass agitations would follow in quick succession. Then, an ‘internal struggle’. Does the Kohinoor belong to ‘Vishala Andhra’ or Telengana? War hots up. Violence, police firing, deaths, immolations. The Kohinoor would be living up to its reputation of bringing misery and tragedy. So, isn’t the Kohinoor better off where it is?

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