"Now can we get our Kohinoor back?"
Indians are calling for the royal family to return the Kohinoor diamond.
Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Kohinoor has been trending on Twitter, reigniting a centuries-old campaign to correct the course of British colonialism.
The diamond has a long history with the royal family, having been worn on crowns by generations of queens.
But there is some debate over whether the 105-carat diamond belongs to the House of Windsor.
Indians believe it came from the south of their country, in what is now modern-day Andhra Pradesh.
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, many Indians are calling for the $591 million diamond to be sent back to them.
One Indian Twitter user said: “On behalf of Indians, we want our Kohinoor back.”
Another claimed: “Let’s not forget the Queen refused to return the Kohinoor diamond back to India after the British stole it.”
A third said: “Now can we get our Kohinoor back? Reminder that Queen Elizabeth is not a remnant of colonial times. She was an active participant in colonialism.”
Professor Jyoti Atwal, a historian at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, said King Charles III will now have to confront the past and apologise for Britain’s role in historical events.
“King Charles will have to look at this new phase of anti-colonialism because anti-colonialism has changed its face now.”
But how did it come to be in the possession of the royal family?
While its exact origins are unclear, the British are believed to have acquired the diamond in the late 1840s after convincing 11-year-old Sikh Maharajah Duleep Singh to surrender Punjab to Britain’s East India Company, with the diamond reaching Queen Victoria around 1850.
It was worn by Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation in 1953.
Most recently, it featured on the crown of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The crown was last shown publicly in 2002, resting on top of the Queen Mother’s coffin at her funeral.
While Indians have called for the diamond to be given up, the campaign is not new.
In 2000, Indian politicians wrote a letter to the UK, asking for the Kohinoor to be returned.
MP Shashi Tharoor wrote: “Britain owes us.
“But, instead of returning the evidence of their rapacity to their rightful owners, the British are flaunting the Kohinoor on the Queen Mother’s crown in the Tower of London.
“It is a stark reminder of what colonialism truly was: shameless subjugation, coercion, and misappropriation.”
In 2013, during a visit to India, then-Prime Minister David Cameron ruled out returning the diamond, saying:
“I certainly don’t believe in ‘returnism’, as it were – I don’t think that’s sensible.”
“The right answer is for the British Museum and other cultural institutions to do exactly what they do, which is to link up with other institutions around the world to make sure that the things which we have and look after so well are properly shared with people around the world.”
It is a possibility that the diamond will be worn again by Queen Consort Camilla on special occasions like the coronation of King Charles III.
Professor Atwal said: “That will again rake up a demand for bringing it back.
“When we visit [the] Tower of London where it is kept, all South Asians who are visitors who come to England have to pay to see the Queen’s jewellery, diamond possessions, especially the crown of Queen Elizabeth.
“It’s an issue which will keep coming up again, and again.”