Sometime ago, I wrote about Indian jhumka earrings and showed how metalsmiths create bell or bowl shaped earrings. Jhumka earrings have a very long history dating back thousands of years. They were once worn by temple dancers. They are now popular statement jewelry pieces although I have seen some pretty dainty ones too!

I was delighted to find some beaded jhumka earrings tutorials. Shown above is the really pretty design tutorial by ZahraDIYCrafts which uses just pearl and seed beads. 

The second one, shown below, is the beaded jhumka tassel earrings tutorial by LeslieVenturoso. Leslie explained to me that she designed this pair of earrings for a demonstration she gave at the TOHO booth at the last Bead & Button show.

Another beaded tutorial is this pretty jhumka pair by Indian instructor, BeadMates over on Youtube. She uses seedbeads, small pearls and bicones as well as 8mm rivolis in the studs called kanphool. 

How The British Took Over India

In 1877, the then British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, had Queen Victoria proclaimed Empress of India which pleased her to no end.  India was regarded as the "Jewel in the Crown". That was accompanied by a very grand Durbar celebration in Delhi. All the pomp and ceremony just hid what was a long standing resentment among the Indians about British control over their affairs. 

Since 1600, the powerful East India Company, perhaps best described as armed entrepreneurs with their own army, sought to exploit India for commercial gain. This company essentially became a privately owned colonial power, plundering several Indian states and gaining control over vast Indian territories. 

This is arguably one of the most famous stories about their many conquests. The legendary Koh-i-Noor diamond, or "Mountain of Light" belonged to the Maharajah of the Sikh Kingdom in what is now northwest India. It was the gemstone equivalent of the Lord of the Rings' "one ring to rule them all". The East India Company sought that jewel at all costs as it had become a symbol of their power and colonial superiority over India. They bided their time and when the chance came, took it from the last Maharajah, Duleep Singh.They first imprisoned his mother, the Regent, and forced Duleep, a little boy of 10, to hand over the gem and sign away his sovereignty. 

Duleep Singh spent most of his sad but privileged life in exile, where efforts were made to fully culturally anglicise him. He endured a controversial conversion to Christianity before he was 15, but reverted back to Sikhism later on as an adult. Cut off from his homeland, his culture and family, the British even refused to let his mother see him for years until she was old and no longer deemed a threat. He was only allowed to return to India briefly twice, to bring his mother to England and to return her body for cremation.  

The Koh-i-Noor's original setting was in an armlet (shown below) which was how it was first presented to Queen Victoria.  (The British are still taught that the Koh-i-Noor was a gift from India to Britain.) 

The recut diamond is now in the Queen Consort's Crown. Queen Camilla avoided wearing it at the coronation of King Charles III last year because it is so controversial. India has unsuccessfully demanded its return for many years. It is a highly contentious subject. Unlike Nazi loot, the issue of who the diamond belongs to, is not easy to settle when trying to unravel complicated colonial history. For starters, the Sikh Kingdom no longer exists. 

The East India Company lost control when their sepoys (native soldiers) began a major uprising against British rule in 1857.  The Indian Mutiny, sometimes known as the First War of Independence, was brutally put down and the British government completely took over from the Company the following year. 

The British government later dissolved the East India Company and promised change but still continued to exploit India. The Indians soon realised that under the British Raj, no matter how hard they tried to make themselves British, they would never be considered equals nor would they ever be in control of their own country. The long and very bloody road to independence ended in 1947 when India was finally freed but partitioned into India, Pakistan and what is now Bangladesh. 

That, in a nutshell, was how the British took over India. 

You would very likely much prefer Trevor Noah's hilariously satirical version on Youtube! It is an excerpt from his standup routine, Afraid of the Dark on Netflix.  This astute, observant and funny South African comedian and talented mimic is a favorite of mine. South Africa has a very large Indian community. When he was growing up, one of his best friends was a little Indian boy who inadvertently introduced him to his favorite cuisine.  He nails the accent, mannerisms, everything, roasting both nations and delighting all (see the video comments). 

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM