Thanks to Harsh N. Vadgama for sending this to me. It’s a
translation from the Hindi…and I pass it on this week as a
unique piece of Koh-I-noor lore most of us do not get exposed
The Birth and Legend of the Koh-I-noor
And so it was written in ancient scripture that the Syamantaka
came down from heaven in a time beyond memory, and that this was
the same jewel that hung about the neck of the sun god to give him
his brilliance. But he gave it to Ushas, daughter of the dawn, and
from her it passed on to the Lord Krishna himself, who spoke unto
the world, telling that the gem would henceforth belong to the
kingdom of men.
And so Lord Krishna said that only those without stain might wear
it, the virtuous and the pure in spirit, and that whatsoever impure
men took it would surely die. Lord Krishna gave the perfect jewel
to Akura, and Akura put it on a cord about his neck that it might
garland him with light. Thus the stone remained in the south until
the days of the fathers’ fathers’ time, when the seed of Tamerlane
and of Ghengis Khan was united, and the power of the world moved
And so it came to pass that this peerless diamond was given to
Babur, the Founder, and he took it to himself with an oath that it
would be a sign of unity and power and of eternity. and all at
Delhi who heard the oath drew in their breath and said it was rare
as unity, clear as power and hard as eternity, and they called it
Koh-I-noor - the Mountain of light.
And so the matchless stone passed undiminished and in this time
all the world bowed down before the Great Moghul and paid tribute
to his power, even the white man who came to Hindustan in their
tall ships, and it seemed that the radiant power of the Peacock
Throne would shine for ten thousand years. But, alas! The radiance
dimmed, and the time of the diamond’s passing was at hand.
And so on the night when Nadir Shah, the Persian butcher, whose
name be forever spat upon, brought the armies of the North to stand
before the walls of Delhi, it was decided that the jewel should be
cursed afresh, that the words of the Lord Krishna should be renewed
strongly, that the butcher might take the jewel and die in torment.
So it was that the diamond diamond was brought to a holy Brahmin
who had been blinded by the butcher. But the Brahmin stumbled as he
invoked the words, and the curse was altered so that any man, pure
or impure, should die in torment if he possessed the stone, and
that henceforth it should leave a wake of blood.
The next day, ruin came upon the land of the Moghuls, and the
butcher raged through the city of Delhi, and all there fled or were
blinded or were burned alive, and the peacock throne was carried
off to Persia. But the Koh-I-noor was hidden in a body-servant’s
turban and smuggled into the south in great secrecy, to the lands
of the Nizam, it’s ancient home. And a lesser stone, the
Darya-I-noor, the ocean of light, was taken by the butcher in its
stead, and Nadir Shah knew not the deception all the days of his
At this time the Nizam of the South was Asaf Jah, a blessing be
upon his name, a great and cunning lord who even then had ruled the
people of the South for many long years. And Asaf Jah had at his
scepter a mighty sword, the talwar-I-jang, the sword of war, the
sword of Islam. And those among his subjects that were Muslims saw
the sword and drew in their breath for they knew of its power, and
these devout knew they must obey its possessor in all earthly
matters. Asaf Jah consulted his advisers and his astrologers and
those who were wise said he must throw the stone into the sea, but
those who were corrupt said he must fix the diamond to the hilt of
his sword that both Hindu and Muslim would know him as lord.
Bet Asaf Jah, the cunning man, the clever man, knew of the curse
that any man who possessed the Koh-I-noor would die in torment, and
thus he drew aside the body-servant and bade him give the gem to
his foremost wife, and when this was done the body-servants limbs
were struck off one by one, for did not the curse apply to him
also? And therefore was it not inevitable that his death was by
lingering? And when this was done, Asaf Jah was content for he knew
that all must now believe his wife’s husband was lord, but that she
being no man at all, would nor die in torment…
And there ya have it.
That’s it for this week folks.
Catch you all next week.
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