Tajinder creatively reflects on India’s 60th Independence day through a story centered around the Kohinoor diamond, and its curse which is said to bring the downfall of great empires when held in the hands of man. He wonders at the possibility of the diamond playing a role in the loss and gain of India’s Independence.
This story is part of Independence Stories and was made in a 5-day workshop at Easton Community Centre with members of the Asian Day Centre. The workshop focussed on the personal “Independence” stories of Bristol based people from South Asian backgrounds, reflecting life in India and Pakistan, and the legacies of partition.
The workshop was led by Bristol based digital animation artist Tajinder Dhami, Aikaterini Gegisian and Paddy Uglow from the Bristol Stories team, with extra support by Nathan Hughes.
Independence Stories was produced by Asian Arts Agency in partnership with Watershed, Bristol Stories, Asian Day Centre and Images of Empire Archive, and was supported by Awards for all and Quartet funds.
I remember a story that an elder once told me as we flew over Afghanistan on a long-haul flight to the motherland: The story of the Kohinoor Diamond’s Curse.
For the rightful owner, the diamond would bestow the power to rule the world, yet no man shall ever dare wear it. Krishna wore it on his sleeve, from where it was stolen one night.
Over centuries, the diamond travelled through the hands of man, leaving havoc and chaos in its wake: Every empire to ever hold the diamond has fallen.
In 1850, the Kohinoor Diamond was seized from Lahaur by the British forces as they took control of the Punjab, the last stronghold in India. The gemstone headed east, towards Portsmouth Docks to its new home at the heart of the Albion.
Queen Victoria, hearing of the curse, first refused it, but eventually was persuaded otherwise, and since the diamond’s change of ownership, the curse seems resplendent; one by one, each of the colonies have fought, and gained independence, India finding independence from British rule, August 1947, 300 years after the fight-back began.
In the last 60 years, India has shown signs of healing and I marvel at the meteoric rise, and the spirit of its people, now colonising the world wide.
Computer imaging created by Tajinder Dharmi, used under copyright licence.