British Prime Minister David Cameron says a giant diamond his country forced India to hand over in the colonial era that was set in a royal crown will not be returned.
Speaking on the third and final day of a visit to India aimed at drumming up trade and investment, Cameron ruled out handing back the 105-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond, now on display in the Tower of London. The diamond had been set in the crown of the current Queen Elizabeth’s late mother.
One of the world’s largest diamonds, some Indians – including independence leader Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson – have demanded its return to atone for Britain’s colonial past.
“I don’t think that’s the right approach,” Cameron told reporters on Wednesday after becoming the first serving British prime minister to voice regret about one of the bloodiest episodes in colonial India, a massacre of unarmed civilians in the city of Amritsar in 1919.
“It is the same question with the Elgin Marbles,” he said, referring to the classical Greek marble sculptures that Athens has long demanded be given back.
“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.
“I certainly don’t believe in ‘returnism’, as it were. I don’t think that’s sensible.”
Britain’s then colonial governor-general of India arranged for the huge diamond to be presented to Queen Victoria in 1850.
If Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, eventually becomes queen consort she will don the crown holding the diamond on official occasions.
When Elizabeth II made a state visit to India to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s independence from Britain in 1997, many Indians demanded the return of the diamond.
Cameron is keen to tap into India’s economic rise, but says he is anxious to focus on the present and future rather than “reach back” into the past.
Posts Tagged With: massacre
I can’t recall when I first heard the story of Jake Shaeffer and his personal ordeal that led to the discovery of a sack of gold. It is one of many such tales that litter New Mexico’s historical landscape.
The affair began on a bracing fall day in 1872 at old Fort Cummings, located upon the desert flats northeast of today’s town of Deming. The post commander ordered Sgt. McGurk of C Company to take a party of civilian workers into the nearby mountains and to cut enough firewood to see the fort through the winter.
Ten troopers were assigned as escorts for protection against hostile Apaches. A German named Jake Shaeffer was hired to cook for the men. A popular belief among frontiersmen held that all Germans were good cooks, but it was thought too that they had no sense of direction and easily got lost. Because of that deficiency, Shaeffer became the chief figure in this story.
Another man was added to the crew, a Mr. Young, who was a blacksmith, taken to shoe the horses and mules and also to hunt for fresh meat in his spare time.
The work party and its escorts marched out of Fort Cummings and headed north into the high country. At a well-timbered spot, camp was pitched and the men broke out their axes and saws. Over the next two weeks, the piles of wood grew shoulder-high, ready to be carted to the fort.
One morning, as Young prepared to set out on a hunt, the cook asked, in his thick accent, if he could borrow a gun and come along, as he’d never shot a deer. “Sure,” replied the blacksmith. “I’ll take care of you.”
That evening when he returned, however, Young was alone. Sheepishly, he told Sgt. McGurk that they had separated and he never saw the German again, although he’d heard a shot in the distance.
The pair then went out to make a new search. As darkness fell, they halted under a tree to wait for dawn. Next morning, they started back to camp but were ambushed by Indians. An arrow pierced Young’s brain, but McGurk escaped.
When the sergeant reached his men, he was met with another shock. Apaches had raided, killing all the wood choppers and two of the soldiers, as well as running off the entire horse herd. Gathering the survivors, he led them back to the fort where he reported the disaster.
A large force was sent to bury the dead, and while about it look again for the missing cook. But no trace of the German could be found. Had the Indians killed him, or had he merely wandered, lost until starvation at last claimed him?
The puzzle was solved a month later, when Shaeffer staggered into Fort Craig on the Rio Grande, 100 miles to the northeast. He was barefoot, without his rifle, and clutching his knapsack with a death grip. To the soldiers, he appeared wild-eyed and crazy as a loon.
Some of the troops did get a quick look inside the knapsack. It was filled with pure gold nuggets, upward of 10 pounds or so. The German abruptly closed the flap, and in a twinkle he raced from the fort on foot, disappearing in the brush along the river.
Later, men sent in pursuit found him stark naked and the knapsack nowhere in sight. Had he thrown his clothes and gold into the Rio Grande, or had they been stolen? No one could say.
Shaeffer was taken to the post hospital, where he hovered near death for days. Then he began a slow improvement. When questioned, the German had only a faint memory of his experience.
He recalled getting lost from Young, but had no idea where the nuggets came from. He did remember crossing a broad plain with antelope and seeing on its far edge a rising mountain with the image of woman’s face on its upper slope.
That indicated that he had been on the San Augustin Plain west of Socorro, where antelope are seen even today. And the clincher? Just beyond the plains tower the Magdalena Mountains, supposedly named for Mary Magdalene, the outline of whose face is formed by rocks near the summit of the north peak.
With these few clues, men for years tried to retrace Shaeffer’s wandering path in hopes of finding the source of his gold. But to this day, it remains a mystery.
Guns don’t kill people….people kill people…But watch the anti-gun jump on this hard….
More than two dozen people, mostly elementary school children, were shot and killed at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school this morning, federal and state sources tell ABC News.
The massacre involved two gunmen and prompted the town of Newtown to lock down all of its schools and draw SWAT teams to the school, authorities said today.
One shooter is dead and a manhunt is on for a second gunman. Police are searching cars. One shooter was described as a 24-year-old armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet vest, sources told ABC News.
It’s unclear how many people have been shot, but 27 people, mostly children are dead, multiple federal and state sources tell ABC News. That number could rise, officials said.
President Obama was briefed on the shooting by FBI Director Bob Mueller.
It is the worst shooting in a U.S. elementary school in recent memory and exceeds the carnage at 1999 Coumbine High School shooting in which 13 died and 24 were injured.
The Newtown shooting comes just three days after masked gunman Jacob Roberts opened fire in a busy Oregon, mall killing two before turning the gun on himself.
Today’s shooting occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, which includes 450 students in grades from kindergarten through fourth grade. The town is located about 12 miles east of Danbury.
In 1856, war between Utah and the federal government appeared imminent. Brigham Young and the Mormon elders decided to gather the wealth of the Mormon Church and to protect it by finding a suitable hiding place. They dispatched several converted Indians to find an appropriate place. A large cave was found between the present towns of Pioche and Ely in what’s now the state of Nevada.
In Utah, every attempt was being made to convert every possible asset to gold. Goods were sold to passing travelers, banks were being liquidated, and church members were being drained of all possible cash. Over $1.5 million dollars were collected, mostly in gold.
Relations with the federal government seemed to be improving until news reached Brigham Young of the infamous Mountain Meadow Massacre. For reasons still unclear, the members of an entire wagon train from Arkansas were slaughtered, leaving only a few of the very youngest children alive.
Brigham Young now felt that even the cave would be unsafe. He ordered that the gold be transferred to the Mormon town of San Bernardino in California, from where, if necessary, it could be moved quickly to Mexico.
Twenty-two wagons with an armed escort of forty Utah militiamen traveled to the cave to remove all of the gold. They decided to take a route that would bypass any settlements to avoid any detection. To do this, they would have to travel across the uncharted area of south-central Nevada.
However, the desert proved to be too much, even for these hardy men. They soon found themselves critically short of water and all efforts to locate water proved futile. Finally, they decided the best solution was to go back to the last water they had passed. So, leaving the gold wagons and horses to the care of the teamsters, the forty militiamen headed back.
Several days later, the militiamen returned only to find the teamsters murdered, the wagons burned, the horses stolen and the gold gone. The Piutes had wiped them out to a man. There was absolutely no trace of the gold. After a diligent search, the militiamen returned home. Subsequent searches by the Mormons proved equally fruitless. None of the gold has ever surfaced, as far as anyone has ever been able to tell.
The gold is still out there for someone to find. By today’s value, the gold would be worth over 30 million dollars. However, the aesthetic value would be much, much higher.
The gold is too heavy to have been moved very far without the wagons, so it would have to be hidden close to the massacre site.