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  ‘Bring back diamond that was stolen 200 years ago’

‘Bring back diamond that was stolen 200 years ago’

Published : Sep 11, 2016, 5:28 am IST
Updated : Sep 11, 2016, 5:28 am IST

The priceless Nassak diamond — also called the ‘Eye of God Shiva’, which was looted from the Trimbakeshwar temple about 200 years ago, is now housed in a museum in Lebanon.

Lalita Shinde-Deshmukh and The Nassak Diamond
 Lalita Shinde-Deshmukh and The Nassak Diamond

The priceless Nassak diamond — also called the ‘Eye of God Shiva’, which was looted from the Trimbakeshwar temple about 200 years ago, is now housed in a museum in Lebanon. Temple trustee Lalita Sandip Shinde-Deshmukh has demanded that the Indian government take efforts to return the diamond to the temple.

Through an application to the central government, Ms Shinde-Deshmukh said that Trimbakeshwar is an ancient temple and one of the 12 jyotilings in the world. The temple was renovated during the Peshwa era. After completing the temple work in 1725 Nana Peshwa donated a valuable crown to its deity, which included many costly gemstones including the Nassak diamond.

“The British invaders looted this diamond about 200 years ago and took it to England. This diamond is among the costliest stones in the world. It is also known as ‘Eye of God Shiva’. This diamond was mined in the 13th or 14th century from the Amargiri mines near Mehboobnagar of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh (now Telangana). It remained with the Mysore treasury,” Ms Shinde-Deshmukh said.

After this, the gemstone was looted by Mughals and was kept in their treasury. The Peshwas took control of the Mughal treasury when they took over Delhi and the diamond passed into their collection, she added.

The Peshwas had made a ‘navas’ (vow) to gain control of the Trimbakeshwar fort. In gratitude for his victory, Nana Peshwa gave the gold crown with the diamond to the deity of the temple. The diamond is now in the private collection of Robert Mouawad Museum in Lebanon, Ms Shinde-Deshmukh said.

It is necessary to contact the museum at various levels to get back the diamond through the Indian government’s external affairs ministry, Archaeological Survey of India and other allied departments, she added.

Ms Shinde-Deshmukh, the former mayor of Trimbakeshwar, is the first woman to be nominated as a trustee of the temple, after a bitter legal battle in the Supreme Court. It is also noteworthy that it was she who initiated the movement to bring back the diamond.