Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond

L-R William Dalrymple, Anita Anand and Tasneem Mehta

Mumbai, January 25, 2017- Asia Society India Centre welcomed William Dalrymple; Author, Anita Anand; Author, and Tasneem Zakaria Mehta; Honorary Director, Dr. Bhau Daji Lad Museum, as they spoke about their new discoveries about the world’s most infamous diamond, Kohinoor.

“Diamonds have always been an important part of Indian history, but we don’t know enough about the Kohinoor diamond, which prompted me to write this book,” states Dalrymple. How and when it came into the hands of the Moghul empire is unknown, although through history we know how it left India. Diamonds were always believed to be fragments of the divine. Speaking about the content of the book, Anand went on to tell the audience of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. He was the creator of the Peacock Throne to display glory, and wealth of the Mughal Empire. The throne was ordered in 1628, taking seven years to complete and costed four times of the Taj Mahal Palace.

Moghul art has always been seen as very artistic, political, and beautiful. Contrary to popular belief, St. Petersburg and Istanbul has the largest and richest collection of Moghul art and jewelry. This novel traces Kohinoor as it moves from the Mughal court to Persia to Afghanistan, from Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s durbar in Punjab to the Crown of the Queen of England. The Kohinoor continues to arouse passion and controversy, as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan all claim the diamond and demand it be returned home.

Reported by Maneka Chotirmall, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre.

This programme falls under our Meet the Author series, which aims to bring together the freshest perspectives from writers across Asia as they engage in dialogue about their recent publications and the art of writing.