Crown Koh-i-noor Diamond
The Crown Of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1937) Made Of Platinum And Containing The Famous Koh-i-noor Diamond Along With Other Gems.  Tim Graham/Getty Images

This U.K. Lawmaker Wants a Huge Diamond in the Queen's Crown Returned to India

Jul 29, 2015

In the midst of a recently reignited conversation about Great Britain's colonial debt, particularly to India, one member of the country's parliament has proposed a preliminary step in repaying the South Asian nation — the return of the famous Koh-i-noor diamond.

U.K. lawmaker Keith Vaz called for the return of the famous jewel on Tuesday and urged Prime Minister David Cameron to promise as much during his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi's visit this November, the Press Trust of India reports.

Vaz, himself of Indian origin and the longest-serving British MP of Asian descent, also referenced Indian lawmaker Shashi Tharoor's much-lauded speech at the Oxford Union that recently went viral on social media. Tharoor argued that Britain owes India and its numerous other colonies reparations for centuries of oppression, a position endorsed by Modi.

"I welcome Dr. Tharoor's speech and the endorsement of its message by Prime Minister Modi. I share their views," Vaz said. "These are genuine grievances which must be addressed."

While he recognized that calculating the monetary reparations is anything but straightforward, the British MP said giving back the iconic diamond — which currently adorns the Queen of England's crown — is one tangible step.

"Pursuing monetary reparations is complex, time consuming and potentially fruitless, but there is no excuse for not returning precious items such as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, a campaign I have backed for many years," he added.

Once considered the largest diamond in the world, the Koh-i-Noor is said to have been 793 carats uncut when originally mined in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh during medieval times, following which it passed through the hands of various invaders — most notably Persian ruler Nadir Shah who gave the precious stone its current name — before being seized by the British East India Company in the mid-19th century.

"What a wonderful moment it would be, if and when Prime Minister Modi finishes his visit, which is much overdue, he returns to India with the promise of the diamond's return," Vaz said.

See The History of US—India Relations in 12 Photos

US ARMY BASE IN DINJAN,INDIA
1942: The US held loose relations with "The British Raj" before Indian independence. Yet the Western nation did maintain an Airfield base in Dinjan,India during this time. (Photo by Ivan Dmitri/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)Ivan Dmitri—Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
US ARMY BASE IN DINJAN,INDIA
Truman Greets Nehru
Dwight Eisenhower, Jawaharlal Nehru
A US plane dropping supplies to Indian troops, during the border war with Red China.
Richard Nixon, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
Jimmy Carter, Morarji Desai, Rosalynn Carter
Rajiv Gandhi;Ronald W. Reagan
Indian Nuclear test site
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (
INDIA-ASIA-QUAKE-TSUNAMI
US President Barack Obama inspects a gua
India's Prime Minister Modi speaks at Madison Square Garden in New York
1942: The US held loose relations with "The British Raj" before Indian independence. Yet the Western nation did maintain
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Ivan Dmitri—Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
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