KOHINOR, n.p. Pers. Koh-i-nur, ‘M ountain of Li ght’; the name of on e of the most famous diamond s in the world. It was an item in the Deccan booty of Alauddin Khilji (dd. 1316), and was surrendered to Baber (or more precisely to his son Humayun) on the capture of Agra (1526). It remained in the possession of the Moghul dynasty till Nadir extorted it at Delhi from the conquered Mahommed Shah (1739). After Nadir’s death it came into the hands of Ahmed Shah, the founder of the Afghan monarchy. Shah Shuja’, Ahmed’s grandson, had in turn to give it up to Ranjit Singh when a fugitive in his dominions. On the annexation of the Punjab in 1849 it passed to the English, and is now among the Crown jewels of England. Before it reached that position it ran through strange risks, as may be read in a most diverting story told by Bosworth Smith in his Life of Lord Lawrence (i. 327–8). In 1850–51, before being shown at the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, it went through a process of cutting which, for reasons unintelligible to ordinary mortals, reduced its weight from 186 1/16 carats to 106 1/16. [See an interesting note in Ball’s Tavernier, ii. 431 seqq.]

1526.—“In the battle in which Ibrâhim was defeated, Bikermâjit (Raja of Gwalior) was sent to hell. Bikermâjit’s family … were at this moment in Agra. When Hûmâiûn arrived … (he) did not permit them to be plundered. Of their own free will they presented to Hûmâiûn a peshkesh (see PESHCUSH), consisting of a quantity of jewels and precious stones. Among these was one famous diamond which had been acquired by Sultân Alâeddîn. It is so valuable that a judge of diamonds valued it at half the daily expense of the whole world. It is about eight mishkals. …”—Baber, p. 308.

1676.—(With an engraving of the stone.) “This diamond belongs to the Great Mogul … and it weighs 319 Ratis (see RUTTEE) and a half, which make 279 and nine 16ths of our Carats; when it was rough it weigh’d 907 Ratis, which make 793 carats.”—Tavernier, E.T. ii. 148; [ed. Ball, ii. 123].

[1842.—“In one of the bracelets was the Cohi Noor, known to be one of the largest diamonds in the world.”—Elphinstone, Caubul, i. 68.]


“He (Akbar) bears no weapon, save his dagger, hid
Up to the ivory haft in muslin swathes;
No ornament but that one famous gem,
Mountain of Light! bound with a silken thread
Upon his nervous wrist; more used, I ween,
To feel the rough strap of his buckler there.”

The Banyan Tree.

See also (1876) Browning, Epilogue to Pacchiarotto, &c.

KOOKRY, s. Hind. kukri, [which originally means ‘a twisted skein of thread,’ from kukna, ‘to wind’; and then anything curved]. The peculiar weapon of the Goorkhas, a bill, admirably designed and poised for hewing a branch or a foe. [See engravings in Egerton, Handbook of Indian Arms, pl. ix.] 1793.—“It is in felling small trees or shrubs, and lopping the branches of others for this purpose that the dagger or knife worn by every Nepaulian, and called khookheri, is chiefly employed.”—Kirkpatrick’s Nepaul, 118.

[c. 1826.—“I hear my friend means to offer me a Cuckery.”—Ld. Combermere, in Life, ii. 179.

[1828.—“We have seen some men supplied with Cookeries, and the curved knife of the Ghorka.”—Skinner, Excursions, ii. 129.]

1866.—“A dense jungle of bamboo, through which we had to cut a way, taking it by turns to lead, and hew a path through the tough stems with my ‘kukri,’ which here proved of great service.”—Lt.-Col. T. Lewin, A Fly on the Wheel, p. 269.


KOONBEE, KUNBEE, KOOLUMBEE, n.p. The name of the prevalent cultivating class in Guzerat and the Konkan, the Kurmi of N. India. Skt. kutumba. The Kunbi is the pure Sudra, [but the N. India branch are beginning to assert a more respectable origin]. In the Deccan the title distinguished the cultivator from him who wore arms and preferred to be called a Mahratta (Drummond).

[1598.—“The Canarijns and Corumbijns are the Countrimen.”—Linschoten, Hak. Soc. i. 260.

[c. 1610.—“The natives are the Bramenis, Canarins and Coulombins.”—Pyrard de Laval, Hak. Soc. ii. 35.

[1813.—“A Sepoy of the Mharatta or Columbee tribe.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. 2nd ed. i. 27.]

  By PanEris using Melati.

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