It is not everyday that a venerable historian of William Dalrymple’s ilk and erudition is available for an interaction.
Naturally, Crossword Bookstores at Kemps Corner was buzzing with excited fans on Tuesday evening who had come to interact with acclaimed writer William Dalrymple and BBC journalist Anita Anand on their latest book Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond published by juggernaut books
In their talk Dalrymple and Anand spoke about their new discoveries around the diamond and bust many of the myths and legends surrounding the world’s most ‘infamous’ diamond.
“We realized that the Kohinoor story is about passion, nationalism and pride and very little about facts, historical evidence and proof. That’s why we decided to write a book that will not take sides on this debate but excavate the facts,” said Dalrymple.
“The irony is that we have the hardest substance in the world which is surrounded by insubstantial nonsense. We therefore laid out what we think are the true facts of the case,” he added.
During the session, readers asked many interesting questions to both the authors.
One of the readers asked Anita Anand about the diamond being cut into two halves to which Anita had to say, ”one theory is that in those days they had a very fast spinning wheel to grind off the facets and the bits were burnt off. There are also people who claim to have chips from the diamond.”
“Here’s a story that readers can never have enough of! It’s a heady mix of controversy, exaggeration, and mystery. Very excited to host William and Anita, for our readers, at Crossword,” said Kinjal Shah, CEO Crossword Bookstores.
Kohinoor: The Story of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond unearths fascinating new information and is a gripping historical saga of loot, murder, torture, deceit and colonial greed. Using previously untranslated Sanskrit, Persian and Urdu sources, and the discoveries of modern gemologists, William Dalrymple and Anita Anand blow away the legends to reveal the Kohinoor’s true history – stranger, and more violent, than any fiction.
The story sweeps from the century the Kohinoor spent embedded in the Mughals’ fabulous Peacock Throne to the months it spent hidden in a prison cell in a remote Afghan fort; from the years it languished unrecognised on a mullah’s desk, used as a paperweight, through to the torture chamber where a Persian prince was crowned in molten lead in an attempt to extract the truth about the gem’s hiding place. Once worn on Ranjit Singh’s turban, Duleep Singh’s armband and Queen Victoria’s crown, it is now locked in the Tower of London, where it continues to arouse passions as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran all demand its return.