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India says British Queen should keep its Koh-i-Noor

Koh-i-Noor was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away, government tells SC

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth's crown is carried through the Norman Porch of the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. REUTERS/POOL/Oli Scarff
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NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India should relinquish its claim to a huge diamond that it has fought for decades to get back from the British, the government told the Supreme Court on Monday, because the stone was given to its former colonial ruler rather than stolen.

One of the world’s largest diamonds, the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor has been part of the British crown jewels for 150 years and today forms part of Queen Elizabeth II’s crown.

The stone has been at the center of a long-running diplomatic row, with many Indians demanding Britain return the diamond to atone for its colonial past.

But Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on Monday told India’s Supreme Court that it should forgo its claims to the jewel because it was in fact given to the British as a gift by an Indian King, Maharaja Ranjit Singh, in 1851.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth's crown is carried through the Norman Porch of the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. REUTERS/POOL/Oli Scarff
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth’s crown is carried through the Norman Porch of the Palace of Westminster after the State Opening of Parliament on June 4, 2014 in London, England. REUTERS/POOL/Oli Scarff

“It was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away,” solicitor general Ranjit Kumar told the Supreme Court during the hearing of a case calling for the stone’s return.

The Koh-i-Noor, on display in the Tower of London, is set in the crown worn by the current Queen Elizabeth during her coronation in 1953.

The Duchess of Cambridge, who last week visited India with her husband, Prince William, will wear the crown on official occasions when she becomes queen consort. William is second in line to the British throne.

During a visit to India in 2010, British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the diamond would stay in London.

“What tends to happen with these questions is that if you say yes to one, then you would suddenly find the British Museum empty,” he said.

Indian campaigners believe the diamond is one of many artefacts taken from India by the British during colonial rule.

“The British rulers looted India and the government is making a mistake by not supporting our claims,” said Nafis Ahmad Siddiqui, who petitioned the Supreme Court for the stone’s return.

(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty, Rupam Jain, Writing by Rupam Jain, Editing by Tommy Wilkes and Nick Macfie)

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  • Allan Joseph Raju

    If a famous actor feels he should settle outside the country then it is anti national. But if the Gov’t. Makes a mockery of the Indian public, misrepresents the true facts, and claims that the Kohinoor taken as a “prize won in war” by the britishers was a gift…. Then that’s patriotic. Its just a matter of time before we give off Arunachal Pradesh also as a gift to China.

  • Allan Joseph Raju

    If a famous actor feels he should settle outside the country then it is anti national. But if the Gov’t. Makes a mockery of the Indian public, misrepresents the true facts, and claims that the Kohinoor taken as a “prize won in war” by the britishers was a gift…. Then that’s patriotic. Its just a matter of time before we give off Arunachal Pradesh also as a gift to China.

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All You Need to Know About the Sport of Jallikattu

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sports, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

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banned bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu
Jallikattu sport of Tamil Nadu, Wikimedia

By Ruchika Verma

  • Jallikattu is a traditional Tamil sport
  • The sport involves bulls and humans, the latter trying to control the former
  • The sport was banned in 2014, which created lots of controversies

Jallikattu or Sallikkattu, also known as ‘eru thazhuvuthal’ and ‘manju virattu’ traditionally, was in news last year, around this time due to the ban imposed on it by the Supreme Court. The ban was much hyped and gathered a plethora of media’s attention.

Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons
Jallikattu ban was much hyped. Wikimedia Commons

Jallikattu ban has also garnered lots of political attention due to the involvement of Tamil Nadu and Central governments. The issue is much hyped due to the political context involved in it too.

What exactly is Jallikattu? 

Jallikattu is a traditional sport and spectacle in which bulls of the Pulikulam or Kangayam breeds are released into a crowd of people, and multiple human participants attempt to control the bulls while they try to escape.

Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr
Jallikattu is seen as animal cruelty by many activists. Flickr

Jallikattu is practised in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations. The districts, Madurai, Thanjavur, and Salem are the most famous for conducting Jallikattu. The game dates back to Tamil classical period, which went back to 400 BC. Ancient Tamil Sangam literature described the practice as ‘Yeru thazhuvuthal’ which literally means “bull embracing.” With time the sport has become synonymous with valour and bravery.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu legalises Jallikattu with a New Law

What happens in Jallikattu and how?

The bulls participating in the game are all lined up behind a narrow gate and released one by one into the arena. The participants have to either control the bull by holding its hump or clutch away from a flag attached to the horns. Owners of the bulls often announce prizes for the man who gets the hold of their bull.

The objective of the game is not to kill or overpower the bull, but to hold onto their hump for a certain amount of time or distance.

The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com
The participants are only allowed to hold onto the hump of the Bull. www.in.com

There are three variants to the game. First, when the bulls are released from an enclosed area. Second, when the bull is directly released into the open ground. And third, when the bull is tied to a rope as the only restriction, and a team of 7-9 members has to untie the prize from the bull’s horns in 30 minutes of the time period.

The gate through which bulls enter the arena is called Vadi Vasai. The bulls charge at the men standing most near to the gate. One of the rules also says that a participant is only allowed to hold bull’s hump and no other body part. The other rules vary from region to region.

Also Read: Animal rights organisations challenge new law on Jallikattu

Jallikattu Ban and Controversy

Jallikattu is certainly a dangerous sport, which poses a risk of life for the participants.

In 2014, The Supreme Court banned the sport, endorsing the activists’ concerns according to which, Jallikattu is not only cruelty towards the animal, but also poses a threat to humans. According to the data provided, between 2010 and 2014, 17 people were killed and approximately 1000 were injured during Jallikatu.

The Jallikattu ban was protests by many Tamilians.
The Jallikattu ban was protested by many Tamilians.

However, the ban invited a lot of protests. Many Tamil communities called this ban a violation of their culture and tradition.

In 2017, many lawyers plead to remove the ban which was rejected by the court. After requests and arguments of Tamil communities, central government reversed the ban, however, after Supreme Court struck the order down, the ban was imposed again. However, the government of Tamil Nadu sanctioned the sport and brought it back into the practice.