Book Review : Kohinoor by William Dalrymple, Anita Anand

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Well if you are looking for answers as to who has the rightful claim to Kohinoor then forget it because this book is not about that. The book basically paints a picture of the diamond and all the history that the diamond has seen through in its path. Maybe historians or others can debate about the facts and tone but I personally felt that the author/authors was as neutral as he/she can be. There was no prejudice or inclination towards theories. The book majorly pointed out to the stories and theories that revolve around the world famous diamond.

Kohinoor Official Synopsis

The first comprehensive and authoritative history of the Koh-i Noor, arguably the most celebrated and mythologised jewel in the world. On 29 March 1849, the ten-year-old Maharajah of the Punjab was ushered into the magnificent Mirrored Hall at the centre of the great Fort in Lahore. There, in a public ceremony, the frightened but dignified child handed over to the British East India Company in a formal Act of Submission to Queen Victoria not only swathes of the richest land in India, but also arguably the single most valuable object in the subcontinent: the celebrated Koh-i Noor diamond. The Mountain of Light. The history of the Koh-i-Noor that was then commissioned by the British may have been one woven together from gossip of Delhi Bazaars, but it was to be become the accepted version. Only now is it finally challenged, freeing the diamond from the fog of mythology which has clung to it for so long. The resulting history is one of greed, murder, torture, colonialism and appropriation through an impressive slice of south and central Asian history. It ends with the jewel in its current controversial setting: in the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Masterly, powerful and erudite, this is history at its most compelling and invigorating

Kohinoor RWAT Take

Almost four to five countries are at claiming wars over Kohinoor. Its been ages and yet the debate still pertains as to whom the Kohinoor really belongs. England, who has it right now. India who had gifted the diamond to England, Pakistan from whom India had got the diamond or Afghanistan from whom Pakistan had got the diamond. So the book majorly tracks the path of these claims and history of from where Kohinoor actually originated. The fact is that how or where the diamond was created is unknown. What is known is the array of people who had possessed the diamond during certain time periods before passing on to the next hand. 

Truth, as per the book, is that the diamond from its very initial days was the most coveted jewel and everybody had eyes set on it and even had gone on to perform most brutal acts to obtain it.Thus the book is a chronicle of Kohinoor from a period where it actually started gaining attention to the time when it eventually became the centerpiece of British Monarchy

I am not a person who enjoys reading non-fiction but this was a book that kind of lured me to try non-fiction. The book was an unexpected entertainer for me because of so much history and stories that revolve around the jewel. The fact that the author chooses to be a voice for the events makes it even more interesting because you are just listening and seeing what happened in the era.

Anybody who is absolutely clueless about Kohinoor would find this book to be your shining light to the jewel. Without too much burden of history, the book mildly travels through time trying to picture how this diamond came into existence with citing evidence. eventually, you will see the many hands that possessed it and why so many countries are fighting over its ownership. The book leaves at that. The facts and figures. rest is up to you to analyze and judge

Conclusion

In conclusion, this book would be a quick guide to your curiosity to the most infamous diamond of our time. This would help you know the past and present of the diamond and in a very concise and effective manner. I loved the neutral narration and the way it just focused on narrating facts and figure without tainting it with personal opinions.

 

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