Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the Kohinoor Diamond


Maharaja Ranjit singh kohinoor diamond

In March, 1813, Shah Shooja again
came to Lahore, his wife (who was already
there,) having assured her husband that he
would find a friend in the ruler of the Punjaub.
But he had no sooner arrived, than
a demand was made upon him to surrender
the ” Koh-i-noor,^’ or mountain of light,
a Jaghire being promised as the price of his
compliance. The eagerness of the Sikh to
obtain, and the reluctance of the AiFghan
to resign, this celebrated jewel*, (aUke renowned
for its magnitude and its migrations,)
. * This diamond, which is said to be an inch and a
half in length, and an inch wide, adorned the peacock
throne at Delhi ;—it was carried oflF by Nadir Shah,
after whose death, it was seized in the plunder of Nadir’s
tents by Ahmed Shah, from whom it descended to his
son, Shah Shooja.
appear to have been of equal intensity, but
not so the power of the contending parties.
The character of Runjeet, more unscrupulous
than cruel, was curiously displayed in
the measures he adopted to possess himself
of this highly coveted prize.
No greater severity was employed, than
appeared absolutely necessary to vanquish
the obstinacy of the Shah, and none was
omitted which promised the accomplishment
of that end. The exiled family was
deprived of all nourishment during two
days, but when their firmness was found
proof against hunger, food was suppUed.
It was in vain that the Shah denied that
the diamond was in his possession, and
having exhausted remonstrance, resorted to
artifice and delay.
Runjeet was neither to be deceived, nor
diverted from his purpose, and at length
Shah Shooja, wearied out by importunity and
severity, and seeing that nothing else would
satisfy the rapacity of Runjeet, agreed to give
up the jewel. Accordingly on the 1st June,
1813, the Maharajah waited on the Shah for
the purpose of the surrender.
He was received with great dignity by the
prince, and both being seated, there was a
solemn silence which lasted nearly an hour,
Runjeet then grew impatient, and whispered
an attendant to remind the Shah of the
object of the meeting. No answer was returned,
but the Shah made a signal with his
eyes to an eunuch, who retired, and brought
in a small roll, which he placed on the carpet
at equal distances between the two
chiefs. Runjeet ordered the roll to be unfolded,
when the diamond was exhibited to
his sight. He recognised, seized it, and
immediately retired.
The Shah some time afterwards purchased
his release by a payment of 20,000 rupees.
He was not yet, however, out of the power
of his oppressor, and not long after, Runjeet
being apprised that he had still left
some rare and valuable jewels, he seized the
most precious of them for his own use, together
with all the other costly articles on
which he could lay his hands. After suffering
various hardships and indignities, Shah
Shooja contrived to make his escape, and
after some further adventures and misfortunes,
placed himself under the protection
of the British Government, by whom a moderate
provision was assigned for his maintenance,
and in this asylum he remained
until recent events caused a revolution in his
favour, and seated him beyond all expectation
on the throne of Cabool*.
It would greatly exceed the purpose for
which this sketch was undertaken, to enter
into minute details of the various military
operations of the Maharajah, and of the
territorial acquisitions which were their re-
* It must be satisfactory to the lovers of legitimacy,
to know, that Shah Shooja is the rightful king of Cabool,
and that his defeated competitor, Dost Mahomed,
was not only an usurper, but has not even any bloodroyal
in his veins. He was one of the numerous and
powerful fraternity of AAfghan chiefs, called the Barikzye
brothers, by whom the sons of Tymoor were dispossessed,
and among whom the Affghan kingdom was
divided. After much disagreement and hostility among
themselves. Dost Mahomed became the head of liis
family, and of the AfFghan confederacy, and since
the year 1823, he has been established in the virtual
sovereignty of Cabool ; though the legitimate right of
sovereignty is vested, not in the Barikzye, but in the
Suddoozye clan or family, of which Shah Shooja, the
present king, is the head*

Excerpt Taken From The Book, The Court and Camp of Maharaja Runjeet Singh

Maharaja Ranjit singh kohinoor diamond

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