During India’s first freedom struggle in 1857, many British troops looted and smuggled goods from India to Britain. They smuggled valuables from the temples too. There was a temple of Lord Indra in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. There is a precious gemstone in purple on the idol. The gemstone changed color as the light fell on it from different directions. The gemstone, later known as the Delhi Purple Sapphire, was stolen by a British soldier and smuggled into Britain. But the soldier, Colonel W. Ferris, did not know at the time that he was carrying a great curse with the gem to his own country. Ferris’ goal was to end the war and lead a quiet life. As part of that, he planned a few investment plans and trades. But one by one, everything fell apart. The family was devastated financially and emotionally. When Ferris died due to illness, the gemstone was handed over to his son. Trouble followed the young man as well. He then handed it over to a friend. But soon the friend committed suicide. Ferris’ son soon succumbed to his injuries.
Many hands turned and the stone fell into the hands of Edward Heron Allen, the famous British writer and orator of the time. That was in 1890. Edward was the author of many books, loved literature, and wanted to acquire new knowledge. He too had heard of the curse of this gem. But at first, he did not believe anything. Soon, unforeseen tragedies befell Edward’s life. He then presented the stone to a friend who was a singer. It is said that they never sang again. Later life was in a state of sound loss. Edward finally throws the gem into a canal. But while cleaning the bottom of the canal, a dredger operator found the gem. He sold it in a shop. The jeweler who received it knew that the owner was Edward. So the gem went back to Edward himself. He then realized that the curse of the gemstone would never leave the possessors.
Meanwhile, his daughter was born. Shortly afterward, in 1904, Edward moved the gemstone to the Bank locker. They were kept in seven lockers. Edward suggested that it should be opened only three years after his death and that it should not be in the possession of his daughter for any reason. He died in 1940. In 1943, her daughter opened the locker and handed over the gem to the Natural History Museum in London. There was a note with it. ‘Whoever opens this gemstone box must first read this note. Then he can do whatever he wants. I suggest that this gem be thrown into the sea immediately … ‘This was the note. The curse of the Delhi Purple Sapphire was also known to the world through Edward’s daughter.
But the curse of the stone was not over yet. Museum curator John Whittaker returned with the gem in 2004 after being taken as part of a symposium on Edward’s life. His wife was also in the car. But Whitaker later told the History Channel that he had gone through the most tragic situation of his life during that journey. The storm was unprecedented. He said the car was struck by lightning on both sides. His wife told him that the stone was the cause of everything and he did not listen. Later, he had to carry the gem out twice more. For the first time, he was in excruciating pain. For the second time, he also sought pain due to kidney stones. But somehow escaped from it all. Whittaker argued that this was a completely natural phenomenon. But according to Indian mythology, Indra is the god of thunder and weather. The story soon spread that this condition came about because he had acquired the gem of that God. The gemstone was last displayed at the museum in 2007. Later it was moved to the cellar along with many other valuables. The question of why it was removed from the public eye is still unanswered!