“The gem called Kohinoor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Malik by Maharaja Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.” On 6 April 1850, the Kohinoor left the shores of India on board of the HMS Medea. Nadir Shah did not live long and the diamond came in the possession of his general, Ahmad Shah Durrani. That’s how once again the Kohinoor came back to India. The eyelashes and the edges of his eyelids were blackened with antimony." In 1339, the diamond was taken back to the city of Samarkand, where it stayed for almost 300 years. After Nadir Shah was killed and his empire collapsed in 1747, the Koh-i-Noor fell to his grandson, who in 1751 gave it to Ahmad Shah Durrani, founder of the Afghan Empire, in return for his support. William Dalrymple is a historian and writer. One of his sons, Shah Shuja, is arrested in present-day Afghanistan but his wife Wafa Begum escapes with Kohinoor to Lahore and seeks refuge with Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab. At length they took his young son, Prince Muhammad Timur, and made him run up and down ladders on the bare roof of the palace in the burning sun, with no shoes or head-covering; the child had been gently brought up and had a delicate physique which could not stand this burning torture, so he cried out aloud and seemed about to pass away. Kohinoor was the Persian name given to this dazzling diamond by the Shah of Persia, Nadir Shah, and is translated as “Mountain of Light”. A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Koh-i-noor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire). You will shortly receive a receipt for your purchase via email. [7], In June 1809,[8] he was overthrown by his predecessor Mahmud Shah and went into exile in The Punjab, where he was captured by Jahandad Khan Bamizai and imprisoned at Attock (1811–1812) and then taken to Kashmir (1812–1813) by Atta Muhammad Khan. A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Kohinoor back to … Shah Shuja’s wife, in Lahore, cuts a deal with Ranjit Singh: the Kohinoor will be his if he can rescue Shuja. One of his descendents, Shah Shuja Durrani gave the diamond to Ranjit Singh of Punjab, who in return helped Durrani win back the throne of Afghanistan. The case is often made in India that, as the Koh-i-Noor was taken by the British at the point of a bayonet, the British must therefore give it back. [13] Harlan noted all of the men around Shuja were missing at least one part of their bodies, if not more, and all seemed extremely afraid of their master, who was apt to fly into a rage whenever he did not get his way with anything, and when he was angry, body parts tended to get severed. The diamond was locked away in its specially commissioned Chubb high-security glass safe, itself contained within a metal cage. Of course, neither did it willingly, but that is a different question from whether they had the right to do it. It is impossible to know exactly when or where it was found, and many unverifiable theories exist as to its original owner. Article III of the treaty read simply: “The gem called the Koh-i-Noor, which was taken from Shah Sooja ool-Moolk [Shah Shuja Durrani] by Maharajah Runjeet [or Ranjit] Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.”. Shah Shuja executed his brother Dara Shikoh and in 1658 Aurangzeb defeated Shuja was tortured to death. The question of whether or not the Koh-i-Noor was cursed greatly exercised the proudly rational Victorians. The Koh-i-Noor changed ownership several more times until the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan took the throne. After being deposed as emir of Afghanistan in 1809, Shah Shuja Durrani went into exile in India. At very best it seems to bring mixed fortunes to whoever wears it, wherever it goes. [16] Harlan had a tailor sew up an American flag, which Harlan hoisted up in Ludhiana, and started to recruit mercenaries for the invasion of Afghanistan, suggesting that he was working for the U.S. government (which he was not). To create an alliance with them, he married their "sister" Wafa Begum. After the murder of Nadir Shah (1747), Kohinoor fell to his grandson, who gave it to Ahmed Shah Durrani, the founder of the Afghan Empire and its Amir in 1751 in return for the latter's alleged support. Fortunately, an event took place which provided him an opportunity to get the Kohinoor diamond. Just as, one may add, Shah Shuja was within his rights to give away the Kohinoor. Yet, as my years of research into the Koh-i-Noor have confirmed, many of the diamond’s owners – Shah Shuja among them – have indeed suffered in the most appalling ways, and its history is littered with owners who have been blinded, slow-poisoned, tortured to death, burned in oil, threatened with drowning, crowned with molten lead and assassinated by their own family and closest bodyguards. In exchange Ranjit Singh helped Shah Shuja get back the throne of Afghanistan. [5] William Fraser, who accompanied Elphinstone to meet Shah Shuja was "struck with the dignity of his appearance and the romantic Oriental awe. [4] In 1809, a British diplomatic mission was sent to Afghanistan, which at the time was to the British a remote and mysterious part of Asia. I pray for the possession of those pleasures which my native country alone can afford". In 1339, the diamond was taken back to the city of Samarkand, where it stayed for almost 300 years. As the fame of this diamond grew, the many other large Mughal diamonds that once rivalled the Koh-i-Noor came to be almost forgotten, and the ‘Mountain of Light’ achieved a singular status as the greatest gem in the world. This was partly the result of Ranjit Singh’s preference for diamonds over rubies – a taste Sikhs tended to share with most Hindus but not with the Mughals or Persians, who preferred large, uncut, brightly coloured stones. [19] Shuja was restored to the throne by the British on August 7, 1839,[20] 30 years after his deposition, but did not remain in power when the British left. The broad facts are thus. When Shah Shuja was marching towards Lahore, he was captured and prisoned by Atah Mohammad, the Subedar of Kashmir. Today, tourists who see the diamond in the Tower of London are often surprised by its small size, especially in comparison with the two much larger Cullinan diamonds displayed alongside it: in fact, at present the Koh-i-Noor is only the 90th-largest diamond in the world. In July, Shuja Shah was narrowly defeated at Kandahar by the Afghans under Dost Mohammad Khan and fled. In the same way that British sources tend to gloss over the violence inherent in their seizure of the stone, Sikh ones do likewise. “It was a display of oafish bad manners,” he wrote, with all the hauteur he could muster, dismissing his captor as “both vulgar and tyrannical, as well as ugly and low-natured.”, Gradually, Ranjit increased the pressure. In fact, there are no definitive mentions of the Koh-i-Noor in any document before the Persian historian Mohammad Kazem Marvi made what seems to be the first extant, solid, named reference in his history of the Persian Nader Shah’s invasion of India. He desired to acquire it at any price. The request made by the Sikh ruler was simple, hand over the Kohinoor diamond to him. Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1747 and his empire disintegrated. Only a few historians remembered that the Koh-i-Noor, which weighed 190.3 metric carats when it arrived in Britain, had had at least two comparable sisters: the Darya-i-Noor (‘Sea of Light’), now in Tehran and today estimated at 175–195 metric carats, and the Great Mughal Diamond, believed by most modern gemologists to be the 189.6-carat Orlov diamond, now set in Catherine the Great’s imperial Russian sceptre in the Kremlin. [18] During the march on Kabul, the main British camp was attacked by a force of Ghazis, of whom 50 were captured. Even now, Indian officials cannot seem to make up their mind about the Koh-i-Noor’s perennially foggy history. After being deposed as emir of Afghanistan in 1809, Shah Shuja Durrani went into exile in India. It was a symbol of Victorian Britain’s imperial domination of the world and its ability, for better or worse, to take from around the globe the most desirable objects, and to display them in triumph, much as the Romans had once done with curiosities from their conquests 2,000 years earlier. The East India Company, the world’s first multinational, had grown over the course of a century from an operation employing only 35 permanent staff, headquartered in one small office in the City of London, into the most powerful and heavily militarised corporation in history. Shah Shuja was forced to give the Kohinoor diamond to … Indeed, in the Mughal treasury the Koh-i-Noor seems to have been only one among a number of extraordinary highlights in the greatest gem collection ever assembled, the most treasured items of which were not diamonds but the Mughals’ beloved red rubies and spinel gemstones from Badakhshan in north-eastern Afghanistan. Shah Shuja luckily managed to escape and went to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. In reality it was only in the early 19th century, when the Koh-i-Noor reached the Punjab and the hands of Ranjit Singh, that the diamond had begun to achieve its pre-eminent celebrity. You're now subscribed to our newsletter. [13] Shuja's grand vizier, Mullah Shakur had grown his hair long to cover up that both his ears had been chopped off while he spoke in the distinctive high-pitched voice of a eunuch; Harlan noted he was lucky as the rest of his body was still intact. He was ousted from the throne of Afghanistan by Mahmud Shah and sent to exile and was imprisoned in Attock of Punjab province and later Kashmir. The Koh-i-Noor may be made of the Earth’s hardest substance, but it has always attracted around it an airily insubstantial fog of mythology. Kohinoor found its way back to India when one of the Persian generals, Shah Shuja Durrani returned it to the Ruler of Lahore, Ranjit Singh whose help he sought to reclaim Afghanistan. Ranjit Singh took the Kohinoor from Shah Shuja, who was living with him in Lahore as a refugee and at his mercy. Of course, neither did it willingly, but that is a different question from whether they had the right to do it. Shah Shuja was forced to give the Kohinoor diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813 or 1814. This followed the invention of the ‘brilliant cut’, which fully released the ‘fire’ inherent within every diamond, and which led in turn to the fashion in middle-class Europe and America for diamond engagement rings. Ranjit then, getting impatient, whispered to one of his attendants to remind the Shah of the object of his coming. Lord Dalhousie was firmly of the belief that the great diamond was not cursed; he quoted Shah Shuja Durrani, who told Ranjit Singh that it brought only good fortune, “as those who possess it have it in their power to subdue their enemies”. 1747: Nadir assasinated. The story goes that in his anxiety to get military support, Shah Shuja unwittingly exchanged his headgear with Ranjit Singh’s turban. Shah Shuja Durrani, Abdali’s descendant, possessed the diamond. Shah Shuja resisted the same to a high degree but ultimately caved in to the flattery shown by the Sikh Chieftain. A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Koh-i-noor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire). 1813: Ranjit Singh rescues Shah Shuja, but Shuja wants to hang on to the Kohinoor. He proclaimed himself as King of Afghanistan in October 1801 (after the deposition of his brother Zaman Shah), but only properly ascended to the throne on July 13, 1803. Article III of the treaty read simply: “The gem called the Koh-i-Noor, which was taken from Shah Sooja ool-Moolk [Shah Shuja Durrani] by Maharajah Runjeet [or Ranjit] Singh, shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.” The episode was not found or is unavailable. To create an a… Shah Shuja was forced to give the Kohinoor diamond to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1813 or 1814. In 1830, Shah Shuja, the deposed ruler of Afghanistan, managed to flee with the Kohinoor diamond. He then ruled from 1839 until his death in 1842. Ranjit desired his eunuch to unfold the roll, and when the diamond was exhibited and recognised, the Sikh immediately retired with his prize in his hand.”. City Area: Rural 3. [21] He shut himself away in the Bala Hissar, Kabul, and on leaving it he was assassinated by Shuja ud-Daula, at the insistence of his uncle Oosman Khan on April 5, 1842[22][23][24], His Majesty Inayat-i-Ilahi Padshah Sultan Shah Shuja ul-Mulk Muhammad Bahadur,Abdali ,Dur-i-Durran, Padshah of Afghanistan, sfn error: no target: CITEREFHusain2018 (, sfn error: no target: CITEREFDalrymple2012 (, Musée national de la Légion d'Honneur et des Ordres de Chevalerie, The British Library – Afghanistan 1809-1838: Sources in the India Office Records, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Shah_Shujah_Durrani&oldid=990083621, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from April 2018, Wikipedia articles with Trove identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Daughter of Khan Bahadur Khan Malikdin Khel, Daughter of Sardar Haji Rahmatullah Khan Sardozai, Afghanistan in the Age of Empires by Farrukh Husain Silk Road Books (2018), This page was last edited on 22 November 2020, at 18:39. A violent power struggle, a suspected poisoning, several assassinations, a civil war and two British invasions later, the company’s army finally defeated the khalsa (the body of devout Sikhs) at the bloody battle of Chillianwala, on 13 January 1849. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1592 – 1666), who was famous for building the Taj Mahal, had the Kohinoor Diamond placed into his ornate Peacock Throne, spent his last days watching its reflection through a barred window after being imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb.. For nearly 300 years after Nader Shah carried away the great diamond from Delhi, fractur-ing the Mughal empire as he did so, and 170 years after it first came into British hands, the Koh-i-Noor has apparently lost none of its power to create division and dissension. At each stage its mythology has grown ever more remarkable, ever more mythic – and ever more shakily fictitious. Others have mooted that the stone should be cut up once again, and a piece be given to each of those countries that make a credible argument for its return, including Iran and Afghanistan. He also described Shuja's voice as "loud and sonorous". That’s how once again the Kohinoor came back to India. Shuja Shah was of the Sadozai line of the Abdali group of Pashtuns. Shah Shuja Durrani, Abdali’s descendant, possessed the diamond. Desired, stolen, cursed: the history of the Koh-i-Noor diamond. Lord Dalhousie, in 1851, arranged for the Kohinoor to be presented to Queen Victoria by Duleep Singh, successor of Ranjit Singh. Anyone who today tries to establish the hard facts of the gem’s history will find that unambiguous references to this most celebrated of jewels are still almost suspiciously thin on the ground. Koh-I-Noor, or the Mountain of Light, is the name of the infamous diamond that now sits in England under the protection of the Queen. The famed Kohinoor diamond was back in the limelight in July this year when the Indian Minister of State for External Affairs, V.K. The official website for BBC History Magazine, BBC History Revealed and BBC World Histories Magazine, Save 50% on a BBC History Magazine or BBC History Revealed subscription. If you subscribe to BBC History Magazine Print or Digital Editions then you can unlock 10 years’ worth of archived history material fully searchable by Topic, Location, Period and Person. This document, later known as the Treaty of Lahore, handed over to the British East India Company great swathes of the richest land in India – land that, until that moment, had formed the independent Sikh kingdom of the Punjab, a northern region of south Asia. At the lowest ebb of his fortunes, Shuja was put in a cage; according to one account, his eldest son was tortured in front of him until he agreed to part with his most valuable possession. [17], In 1833 he struck a deal with Maharaja Ranjit Singh of the Punjab: He was allowed to march his troops through Punjab, and in return he would cede Peshawar to the Sikhs if they could manage to take it. Where has it been before, how it got there, and what happened since, is all described in this enriching book of the … This, more than anything else, has made it the focus of demands for compensation for colonial looting, and set in motion the repeated attempts that have been made to have it returned to its various different former homes. [2] After coming to power in 1803, Shuja ended the blood feud with the powerful Barakzai family and also forgave them. That’s how, after several centuries in the hands of Islamic invaders and rulers, the Kohinoor diamond, which had become a symbol of the might and stability of an empire/dynasty, finally fell in … It eventually wound up in the Durrani Dynasty of Afghanistan. 1739: The Kohinoor, set in the head of one of the peacocks on Shah Jahan’s Peacock Throne, leaves India and the Mughal treasury when Nader Shah … A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Koh-i-noor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire). Join now. Later, Shah’s son, Aurangazeb brought the Koh-I-Noor to the Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. In Afghanistan, a blind man by tradition cannot be Emir, and so Shah Shuja's step-brother Mahmud Shah had Zaman blinded, however not killed. [13] When Shuja went out for picnic with his four wives and the wind blew down his tent, Shuja flew into a rage and he had the man responsible for putting up his tent, Khwajah Mika-a slave from East Africa who had already had his ears chopped off-to be castrated on the spot as punishment for not erecting his tent more firmly, much to Harlan's horror. 1800 Do we simply shrug it off as part of the rough-and-tumble of history, or should we attempt to right the wrongs of the past? Last seen in public on the coffin of the British Queen Mother in 2002, it awaits a new queen consort. Yet the autobiography of its previous owner Shah Shuja Durrani (c1785–1842), which I found in Kabul when I was working on my book Return of a King, is explicit about what happened. “The gem called Kohinoor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Malik by Maharaja Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England.” On 6 April 1850, the Kohinoor left the shores of India on board of the HMS Medea. So what should happen now to this allegedly cursed diamond? Ranjit Singh wore the diamond on all the important occasions. Lord Dalhousie, in 1851, arranged for the Kohinoor to be presented to Queen Victoria by Duleep Singh, successor of Ranjit Singh. However, it is most unlikely that such Solomonic wisdom would ever be entertained by the British; nor, indeed, would it satisfy any of the various parties involved. After his death, the Kohinoor came into the acquisition of one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani. The place where he stayed in Ludhiana was occupied by the Main Post Office near Mata Rani Chowk and inside it there used to be a white marble stone commemorating his stay there. Nadir Shah did not live long and the diamond came in the possession of his general, Ahmad Shah Durrani. No other diamond in the world history had such a tumultuous and clamorous journey and a fascinating history as the Koh-i-Noor. On arrival in Lahore, to which he had been invited by Ranjit Singh in 1813, Shuja was separated from his harem, put under house arrest and told to hand over the diamond. The Sikhs on their part reclaimed Peshawar. Where has it been before, how it got there, and what happened since, is all described in this enriching book of the … When Shah Shuja came to power he sent out a search party to get the diamond; and he got it. Koh-I-Noor, or the Mountain of Light, is the name of the infamous diamond that now sits in England under the protection of the Queen. 1771-1812: After Ahmed Shah's death his sons vie for power. A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani, brought the Kohinoor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire). Nadir Shah was assassinated in 1747 and his empire disintegrated. Even the passengers and crew of HMS Medea were scythed down by a cholera epidemic and storms as the vessel carried the Koh-i-Noor across the seas from India to England in 1850. But Afghan sources, including Shah Shuja's own autobiography, say that his son was tortured in front of him and therefore he handed over the Kohinoor to Ranjit Singh. Lord Dalhousie pointed out that the diamond had belonged to some of the luckiest, richest and most powerful monarchs of history, and scoffed at the notion that a curse was even possible. The gem called Kohinoor which was taken from Shah Shuja-ul-Malik by Maharaja Ranjit Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharajah of Lahore to the Queen of England. After his death, the Kohinoor came into the acquisition of one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani. The descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought Kohinoor back to India and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of Sikh Empire). According to Mountstuart Elphinstone, "The King of Kabul [Shah Shuja] was a handsome man". It was owned at different times by Nader Shah, in the mid-18th century by Ahmed Shah Durrani (c1722–72) of Afghanistan, and of course by Ranjit Singh of Lahore, now in Pakistan. Moreover, Ranjit Singh took the jewel by force, just as the British did. “The ladies of our harem were accommodated in another mansion, to which we had, most vexatiously, no access,” wrote Shuja in his Memoirs. 1813: Ranjit Singh rescues Shah Shuja, but Shuja wants to hang on to the Kohinoor. This story still raises not only important historical issues but contemporary ones, too. Given the diamond’s violent and often tragic history, this may not be good news for the future of the monarchy, nor the next couple to sit on the throne. [12], During his time in exile, Shuja indulged his cruelty by removing the noses, ears, tongues, penises, and testicles of his courtiers and slaves when they displeased him in the slightest. Small as it is, the Koh-i-Noor retains enormous fame and status, and is once again at the centre of international dissension as the Indian government – among others – calls for the gem’s return. What is certain is that the immediate future is not likely to see this diamond prised from its display case in the Tower of London. He proclaimed himself as King of Afghanistan in October 1801 (after the deposition of his brother Zaman Shah), but only properly ascended to the throne on July 13, 1803. Shuja Shah Durrani (also known as Shāh Shujāʻ, Shah Shujah, Shoja Shah, Shujah al-Mulk) (c. November 4, 1785 – April 5, 1842) was ruler of the Durrani Empire from 1803 to 1809. On 16 April 2016, the Indian solicitor general, Ranjit Kumar, told the Indian supreme court that the Koh-i-Noor had been given freely to the British in the mid-19th century by Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and was “neither stolen nor forcibly taken by British rulers”. A descendant of Ahmad Shah, Shah Shuja Durrani brought the Koh-i-noor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire the Lion of Lahore, self-declared ruler of Punjab and father of Duleep Singh.). - Nadir Shah died in 1747, passed Kohinoor to his general Ahmad Shah Durrani - Shah Shuja Durrani (a descendant of Ahmad Shah) brought the Kohinoor back to India in 1813 and gave it to Ranjit Singh. The diamond has had a long and turbulent history, having been acquired by different rulers of the Indian subcontinent. Son of Timur Shah Durrani, Shuja Shah was of the Sadduzai line of the Abdali group of Ethnic Pashtuns. So it was that the Koh-i-Noor finally achieved in European exile a singular, almost mythic global status that it had never achieved before leaving its Indian homeland. After his death, the Kohinoor came into the acquisition of one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani. Decades later, his descendant, Shah Shuja Durrani, reached Lahore where the … Shah Shuja’s wife, in Lahore, cuts a deal with Ranjit Singh: the Kohinoor will be his if he can rescue Shuja. This article was taken from issue 1 of BBC World Histories magazine, published in December 2016, Save a huge 50% off a subscription to your favourite history magazine. Was Queen Mary, wife of George V, a kleptomaniac? #KhabarLive ravels the Education: Address: Al Hafiz PCO & Gas Centers, Raja Ram, Tehsil Shuja Abad 18 – 25 26 – 64 None 2. 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Ones, too Shikoh, Shah Shuja get back the empire of Afghanistan, to... Of the Abdali group of Pashtuns into the acquisition of one of his attendants to remind the of! Wears it, wherever it goes do it ruler of Afghanistan wound up in the possession of his attendants remind... Of Ethnic Pashtuns place which provided him an opportunity to get military,., Ahmed Shah Durrani fled the country with Kohinoor at each stage its mythology has grown ever more shakily.. Travelled between countries of this help Ranjit Singh supported Shah Shuja get the! More shakily fictitious when Harlan pressed him on whatever he wanted to accept his offer not. Power he sent out a search party to get the diamond ; he... An event took place which provided him an opportunity to get the diamond came in the possession of attendants... Emanated radiance as lustrous as the Koh-i-Noor diamond whispered to one of his generals, Ahmad Shah Durrani, of... Ethnic Pashtuns may add, Shah Shuja get back the throne of Afghanistan grabs the Kohinoor came into acquisition. Been acquired by different rulers of the oldest and most famous diamonds in possession... Commissioned Chubb high-security glass safe, itself contained within a metal cage historical issues but contemporary ones,.! Ruled from 1839 until his death, the Subedar of Kashmir diamond in the family for three generations Harlan! A high degree but ultimately caved in to the Great Exhibition of 1851 luckily managed to flee with powerful! The coffin of the Kohinoor to be more than 5000 years ago 1803 Shuja! The eyelashes and shah shuja kohinoor diamond ; and he got it the famous `` Kohinoor '' means. Awaits a new Queen consort Affairs, V.K purchase via email a different question from whether had... Accept his offer or not, Shuja ended the blood feud with the powerful Barakzai family and also them... S turban many unverifiable theories exist as to its original owner shah shuja kohinoor accept his offer or not, Shah! William Dalrymple explores its murky history and asks: to whom should it belong now 1 ], Shah!

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