"Return our Koh-i-noor" - - what a "nationalist/patriotic" demand indeed!

Kajal Chaterjee

Have all acute problems of India ceased to exist that the “enlightened”  “patriotic” citizens are immersing in the luxury of  going all-out to immerse in such silly absurdities and trivialities?


Instead of playing to the cheap rhetorical gallery, when will the “nationalist” Indians learn to accept the hard fact that Koh-i-Noor was surrendered to the British according to the treaty marking the end of Anglo-Sikh war? Can facts of history be rewinded in this manner! 


According to the zealous “patriots”, the “national pride” of India and Indians hang on the Koh-i-Noor!


Firstly, this atrocious story of “national pride”  gets sponsored by that set of Indians who are nouveau-riche and do not have to worry about money  and other perennial problems faced by the not-so-fortunate lot. Also they have nothing better to do other than visiting high-end shopping malls, multiplexes, night clubs, pubs and stadiums to immerse in IPL! 


Secondly, what “national pride”!  Millions of Indians are leading a hell-like existence plagued by rampant poverty, hunger, malnutrition, child as well as bonded labour, illiteracy, joblessness, injustice, terrorism, militancy, disease, lack of medicines and health care and what not. The menace of rape and other sexual atrocities upon vulnerable women and girls and  child trafficking are also increasingly steadily. Innumerable poor Indians are either mortgaging their properties or taking loans demanding high rate of interest so as to venture to foreign lands in order to escape the wretched life back home! The plight and torture faced by the Indian domestic servants and labourers in Gulf is beyond description. While many Indians get stranded in alien countries and rot in jails due to lack of proper papers after they had been taken for a ride by the unscrupulous agents, many of our countrymen drown in high seas while venturing Australia on heavily crowded boats. Despite heavy bombings in Tikrit, Baghdad or Mosul during civil war in Iraq;  the Indian nurses employed in the hospitals located there just refused to return to Kerala! A war-torn nation is more preferable for such nurses than the “peace” at their own backyard ie India or Kerala!  Perhaps the exact state of affairs of India get blatantly exposed through such instances! As if such Himalayan problems are not enough;  India is also witnessing continuous mushrooming of fundamentalists and pseudo-nationalists who are simply tearing apart the fabric of India in the name of religion, caste, province, race, symbols like anthem and flags and rhetorical bankrupt “patriotic” slogans.  What “national pride” do these set of “nationalist” Indians talk about! 


 It is a matter of immense shame and disgust when rhetorical exercise of bringing back the Koh-i-noor gets adopted! Would the return of the Koh-i-noor ensure food attire shelter education medicine justice and livelihood to the billions of have-nots! Would the incoming of the diamond bring relief in the lives of innumerable child and bonded labours and those who are toiling in slave-resembling conditions in the Middle-East, Africa and Singapore! 


Had the Father of the Nation been alive today, would he have approved the ridiculous demand of returning the diamond when overwhelming majority of the citizens are in dire straits and immersed in unfathomable miseries! Shouldn't we remember his cardinal advice "Recall the face of the weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? Will it lead to 'swaraj' for the hungry and spiritually starving millions?"


 If the "nationalists" and "patriots" are indeed so concerned about India and desire to make it a progressive proud nation; then they should immediately stop catering to the lowest common denominator, eradicate all thoughts of Koh-i-Noor and other insignificant issues from their consciousness and instead ask the concerned authorities to devote all their energy, time and resource for the uplift of the downtrodden and eradication of all social ills so as to make the society a bit civilized and a better place to live in.



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