Anita Anand and William Dalrymple introduced by Swapan Dasgupta


The Kohinoor is the world’s most famous diamond but its history is shrouded in mystery. Now, using previously untranslated Sanskrit, Persian and Urdu sources along with the high tech discoveries of modern gemologists, Anita Anand and William Dalrymple blow away the legends to reveal a true history stranger, and more violent, than any fiction. Kohinoor reveals previously unknown moments in the diamond’s history such as the years spent unrecognised on a mullah’s desk as a paperweight through to the torture chamber where a Persian Prince was crowned in molten lead in an attempt to extract the truth of the gem’s hiding place. Once worn on Ranjit Singh’s turban, Duleep Singh’s armband and Queen Victoria’s tiara, it is now locked in the Tower of London where it continues to arouse passions as India, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban all claim it as a national treasure and demand its return.