In response to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s recent stirring speech at the Oxford Union, Indian-origin British MP Keith Vaz on Tuesday called for the world-famous Kohinoor diamond to be returned to India.
In his speech, Tharoor had called for Britain to pay reparations to India for 200 years of its brutal colonial rule. The video of him speaking at the Oxford Union later went viral.
“I welcome Dr Tharoor’s speech and the endorsement of its message by Prime Minister Modi. I share their views. These are genuine grievances which must be addressed. Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Kohinoor diamond, a campaign I have backed for many years,” said Vaz, who is the longest serving British MP of Asian descent.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to visit UK in November, and British PM David Cameron has so far tried his best to maintain a strong bilateral relationship.
“What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond’s return,” Vaz said.
The Kohinoor, which was discovered in medieval times in the Kollur mine in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district, was once considered the largest diamond in the world.
The diamond was originally owned by the by the Kakatiya dynasty, which had installed it in the eye of a goddess’ deity at a temple. After passing through the hands of various invaders, it was finally appropriated by the British during the Raj.
The diamond is tody a part of the Crown of Queen Elizabeth II.
Till now, Britain has refused demands to return the diamond to India.