Doctor Jedi’s Blog
Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light.

Koh-i-noor

Nadir Shah, the emperor of Persia invaded India in the 18th century. And amongst the booty he captured from the dredges of the Mughal Empire was the famous diamond, the Kohinoor( the largest diamond in the world until they found the Imperial star of Africa).Apparently, the name Koh-i-noor was given to the diamond by Nadir Shah for when he saw it, he exclaimed “Koh-i-noor”. ( meaning mountain of light, Koh implying mountain and Noor implying light). The stone was captured from Nadir Shah by some Afghan King and Maharaja Ranjit Singhof the Punabi fame got possesion of the stone when he conquered Kabul.

As such things tend to happen, after the Maharaja passed away, none of his progeny (legal or illegal) could fill his shoes and the Khalsa Raj went through around 3 to 4 Maharajas before the British took advantage of the situation and declared war. The first and the second Anglo Sikh wars followed and after the second one, the Kohinoor amongst other things was taken as bounty by Lord Dalhousie following the fall of Lahore. The infant Maharaja ( Duleep Singh) was sort of adopted by Queen Victoria and was raised up in London.

The diamond supposedly has a curse attached to it.

“He who owns this diamond will own the world, but will also know all
its misfortunes. Only God, or a woman, can wear it with impunity.”

The men who possessed it and wore it, lost their kingdoms and left no heirs to carry on their name. This is the supposed reason why the Kohinoor adorned the Queen Mothers crown and not the Queens. Apparently, the reigning monarch of the erstwhile empire and the current head of the Commonwealth of Nations have never had the diamond in their adornments. It is always worn by the wife of the male heir to the throne ( Kate Middleton presumably)

But why, you might wonder, have I started on this story.

It owes its genesis to a play on words really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a picture of Canary Wharf in London located in the Isle of Dogs part of the Tower Hamlets borough.  Since the 1800s, this area had been home to one of the busiest ports in the world supplying the imperial city with trade and sustenance from the distant corners of the Empire. With the decline of maritime trade, the area declined and the docks were finally closed in 1980.An alternative financial hub was planned here to promote the redevelopment of the area.  These buildings today house the European headquarters of most of the Banks in the world.

On a dark night, whenever I look upon this scene, it brings the word “Kohinoor” into my mind. True to the description, these skyscrapers do look like a mountain of light against the dark sky.

I dont know whether my readers would agree with this or not, but the kind of financial services catered to by these banks also carry a curse with them. They turn out to be not so good for the cities that house them (from certain perspectives). On the one hand, they attract money and talent from around the world. On the other, they promote immigration and cause political headaches for the ruling elite every time the stormy cycles of boom and burst rock the economic boat. The economic effects of these services also tend to price the local population out of these cities leaving immigrants to cater to the regular jobs. A scenario not appreciated by those to the right of the political spectrum. All big cities that are financial hubs have similar problems of mass immigration and widespread income disparity. Bombay, London, NYC are the three that I have experienced first hand. Apparently Shanghai and Tokyo have the same issues as well.

Is there a moral to this story. Probably not. We do need some kind of financial services, given that money is the lubricant that greases the wheels of any functioning economy. And what we cannot change, we have to learn to endure.

And appreciate the beauty of these mountains of light.

Advertisements

No Responses to “Koh-i-noor”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: