Monday, 1 August 2016

WE GOTTA HAVE HOPE.....

During the visit of Indian Prime Minister  to US in last May,American authorities ceremoniously returned over 200 number of idols and sculptures taken out from India over the last many centuries.Those artifacts, mostly stolen by foreigners, were from temples of states of Rajastan, Bihar and W.Bengal. It is valued over 100 million USD but in reality as far as India is concerned these are priceless!Albeit the well publicized news apparently came as a surprise to public, it is the result of hectic,warm and streamlined diplomatic efforts of both countries for quite some time.

For India this is a euphoric moment thanks to US. I dont think Indian efforts to get back such idols and precious gem stones taken out of the country before Independence  have been fruitful to this level so far.More than anything else it brings up confidence of an emerging India- from exploitation of the past -in current world affairs.Whenever I got the chance to see in person such Indian art works and idols exhibited in the museums at London, Paris and elsewhere, I used to wonder when it will be back to the country of origin- rightful owners! Apart from these there are many diamonds and gem stones taken out but in custody of new owners. Story of Koh-i-noor diamond is well known but there are many others which most of us are not aware. One among this category is the 'Hope' diamond which is currently exhibited in US itself - at Smithsonian Institute, National Museum Of Natural History,Washington.




Diamonds of Golconda..

It was during a trip to Hyderabad- precisely to Golconda- six months back that I had come to know more about Indian diamonds. From time immemorial India was the only country in the world where diamonds were mined.Mostly diamonds in India were from Kollur mines in Golconda region than others in the country. In fact Sanskrit word for diamond and thunderbolt is vajra  and remains to date important in Hindu culture.After 18th century quarrying for diamonds shifted to other countries in the world.India is the original home- now under others' possession- of some of the most precious diamonds in the world-Koh-i-noor,Orlov,The Regent,Darya-e-noor,Hope.......Even today,India remains world's leading diamond cutting and polishing centre.

Trailing the diamond Hope...India to Paris to London to US.
Hope is the best blue diamond world has ever produced and believed to have been installed on the forehead of an idol of a Hindu goddess.A French traveler named Jean-Baptise Tavernier 'purchased'it in 1642 as recorded in modern history.As an Indian I can categorically state that Hindus will never sell such precious stones on their idols under any circumstances.They would rather prefer to remain poor than sell these precious stones or gold worth billions which  is kept in many temples across India to date.More logical conclusion I can derive on this matter is that Jean must have cleverly succeeded to involve somebody possibly an Indian thief to have this covetous jewel in his custody. This stone was thus introduced to international market of diamonds in the world as French Blue or Tavernier Blue.

French Blue came to the hands of the King Louis XIV of France who had set it as a pendent.During French revolution when the king Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were kept in a dungeon, this diamond was stolen.Again it surfaced in London in possession of a diamond merchant.In 1824 it came to the hands of Henry Philip Hope, after which the diamond is known thereafter in the modern world.Hope was displayed in few exhibitions in Europe but later went to the hands of US socialite and heiress Evelyn Welsh Mclean and finally to the possession of a New York diamond merchant Harry Winston. He donated, that too sent by a simple registered envelope by US mail, to Smithsonian Institute in 1958!

Myth and curse of Hope...
Almost all the world famous diamonds are shrouded with a lot of myths and Hope is not an exception. It is believed that since it was taken out from the idol, it brings 'bad luck and death' to not only the owners but those who put their hands on this diamond.The plight of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette is well known but veracity of others is not clear. In any case Smithsonian Institute thanks it stars to have the possession of this diamond.

Let us put the clock with the right time...

We cannot put the clock back for sure.Past is past but one has to learn lessons from the past follies and corrective steps to be taken prudently for the present and future.It is natural for  mankind to exploit the weak and ignorant. It will continue in one form or the other.Than fighting against it in defensive mode helplessly like India did in the past, I think the best way is to be stronger and offensive as and when required, to protect our interests. Multi millions worth of gems, gold,teak,minerals,metals.... and priceless scientific knowledge, inventions and formulae,manpower to be deployed in estates,projects,wars....for others, were stolen or forcibly taken from India by others from time to time at least in  the past 1000 years as Indians watched  helplessly!Many Indians to date proudly proclaim that India is one of the few countries in the world which has never conquered territories of others.True but what they don't openly admit is that at the same time Indians allowed so many conquerors to come in- even welcomed some of them- and made them to be our own masters to rule over us!!Let us learn our lessons.Let us put the clock with the right time.

Photo:courtesy google images