India's stolen treasures - Timur Ruby and Koh- i -Noor diamond looted from a child ruler of Punjab by the British - 01

 looted from India Timur Ruby (actually Spinel)

The impressive  irregularly-shaped cabochon  spinel that weighs 361 carat,   now part of the British crown jewels in London, was once owned by the  Maharajah of Punjab Ranjit Singh.  The stone is etched with the names of five of the men who owned it earlier : Jahangir (1569-1627), the 4th Mughal Emperor; Shah Jahan (1592-1666), the 5th Mughal Emperor; Farrukhsiyar (1685-1719), the 10th Mughal Emperor; Nader Shah (1688-1747), Shah of Iran; and Ahmad Shah Durrani (1722-1772), King of Afghanistan. the stone had a  chequered  history and finally landed in the hands of the ruler of Punjab province (undivided).  By 1813, the Timur Ruby was in the collection of Maharajah Ranjit Singh. His son  Maharajah  Sher Singh, in the 1840s,   who inherited it, was assassinated and  his younger brother, just five years old  Duleep Singh, became the new Maharajha and the  owner of the Timur Ruby). 

The kingdom being quite vulnerable, the wily  and corrupt East India company  in 1848-49,  waited for the right opportunity and waged war (Anglo-Sikh War; 1845-46) on the Sikh Empire. The English   Company annexed the Punjab region and  forced the ten-year-old ruler to sign over his kingdom.  Duleep Singh was placed in the care of a Scottish guardian and kept him isolated  from his  fellow country men.  When he grew up in England  as a lavish county gentleman  in a well embellished

Elveden hall, England  where Duleep lived

 Georgian House ' Elveden Hall'. Later he  was back to sikh religion and  to the prince Duleep  Elveden  became a symbol  of the 'glittering yet hypocritical excesses of the Victorian aristocracy'. The prince of Wales happened to be his best friend. He never lived in India and died a broken man.. 

As part of the deal, the company came into possession of yet another world famous diamond Koh-i-noor, besides Timur ruby. The Governor-General of India received the Kohinoor, Timur Ruby,  and other  war spoils  from Dr. John Login, in charge of the Toshakhana (Royal Treasury), Royal Fort, Lahore, under a proper receipt dated December 7,1849, in the presence of the members of the Board of Administration.

Timur Ruby of India

The Timur Ruby and other precious stones left England  from Bombay on the 6th of April, 1850 and formally handed over to  Queen Victoria in a ceremony held on July 3, 1850, at Buckingham Palace by Sir J. W. Logg, Deputy Chairman of the East India Company, in the presence of Sir John Hobhouse. The Timur Ruby is now in  the private  collection of  Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It was officially cataloged as a “short necklace of four very large Spinel rubies.

This dishonest transaction is  still a subject of controversy  as the Maharajah was a minor.  You can not take it as part of a peace treaty between Punjab and the English company. Many historians are of the view    that it was outright and glaring theft in a foreign soil against the wish of the royal family.  It is to be noted that Queen Victoria's role is controversial and unethical. Though she knew very well  that both koh- i - noor and  the Timur ruby were looted from Punjab, she turned a blind eye to the loot.  Positively,  it was an unethical act, considering her exalted status.  Was  it  done  by the famous queen out of greed or perversion, no body knows?

It is a mystery why  young Maharajah Duleep Singh  himself was  also brought to  London  when the gemstones were gifted to Queen Victoria by the looter EIC.  Yet another puzzle  is   Duleep Singh  was  forced by the  British government to remain in Europe for the rest of his life, dying in Paris in 1893.  That the ex ruler of Punjab had only been allowed to make two brief visits to India in the 1860 still remains an enigma. A web of conspiracy was woven around the ruler for no reason. 

Upon closer examination in  1851,  it was firmly determined that the gemstone was not a ruby but a spinel.  In 1863 the crown jeweler, Garrards  made  a  new gold and diamond necklace with spinel for Queen Victoria. The  crown jeweler  designed it in such a way as to remove  the Timur Ruby from the necklace and replace it with the Koh-i-Noor Diamond, thus the special necklace has dual functions.


Koh-i-noor Diamond: 

British crown and Koh-i-noor diamond looted from India.

Much has been written about  the 108-carat Kohinoor gem that had been dishonestly looted from young Maharajah Duleep Singh by the EIC after the final Angelo-Sikh war.  Presently the British government has intention of returning the famous diamond to its place of origin - India;  it was  from the Kollur  mines - part of Alluvial deposits of Krishna river, now in Andhra state, S. India. 

Regarding the famous diamond  the Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur before  the Supreme Court of India that Kohinoor diamond was neither “forcibly taken” nor “stolen” by British rulers but given to the East India Company by the rulers of Punjab''  The argument is quite absurd. ''The  truth is Koh-i-noor was stolen from a child''.

World famous Koh-i-noor diamond with Britain.

Minor  Duleep Singh and  his mother  were under duress when they signed the transfer agreement  to hand  over the kingdom (on 2nd April 1849 Punjab became part of the British empire) to the English company along with their palace treasures.  The British diabolically used the Doctrine of  Lapse as a pretext (in case the ruler does not have a legal heir);  it was a corollary to the doctrine of paramountcy by which Great Britain could legally control the land. The other one being  Subsidiary   Alliance ( military and administrative support from the company for an annual fees that may vary each year) 

Because of purported curse  it is carrying  and its history involving  a great deal of violence associated with men, the Koh-i-Noor acquired a bad  reputation within the British royal family.  It would bring   bad luck to any man who  wore it.  Since its arrival in England  it has only been worn by female members of the family.  Victoria wore the stone in a brooch and a circlet. After her death  in 1901, it was set in the Crown of Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII. later it was transferred to the Crown of Queen Mary in 1911, and finally to the Crown of Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) in 1937 for her coronation as Queen consort. Presently, the diamond is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London. 

the looter and the looted, India vs

Above image:  Illustration by Dominic Xavier, When the Empire collapsed, along with it is reputation. The flashy gemstones like Koh-i-noor, Timur Ruby,  Arcot diamonds robbed from India with their aura exposed the empire's dark side, its excesses in killing Indian natives, land-grabbing, looting spree and its guilt. 

Koh-i-Noor diamond and its journey.

Responding to the claims made by the governments of India, Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan  over the ownership  of the Koh-i-Noor  the British government categorically said  it was  was obtained legally (by the corrupt English company) under the terms of the Last Treaty of Lahore and rejected the claims.  The Treaty of Lahore of 9 March 1846, was a peace-treaty marking the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War and  was concluded, for the British, by the Governor-General Sir Henry Hardinge and two officers of the East India Company and, for the Sikhs, by the seven-year-old Maharajah Duleep Singh Bahadur and seven members of Hazara.

''I can tell you the case that hurts me the most is the one in which the little boy is forced to sign the Kohinoor over........

''You take a mother away from a child, you surround him with grown ups speaking a different language, you tell him he must sign this over or else...'

The Kohinoor is a wonderful illustration of how history is often written to misleadingly trumpet the deeds of the conquerors. It is never a tale of the vanquished.............

Back in 1848 the British were inordinately pleased with themselves for having been able to, oh-so bravely, using the might of their army and  the smarts of a scheming governor general, swipe the then un-cut, 186-carat diamond from a frail, family-less Sikh boy and rush it to England for Queen Victoria to wear proudly as a badge of the Empire's successes.''