Sir Ben Kingsley's gold turban

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Sir Ben Kingsley's gold turban

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The actor, Sir Ben Kingsley, is no stranger to history, having played Gandhi in the David Attenborough film of the same name. The performance earned him a 'Best Actor' Oscar at the 1982 Academy Awards. Sir Ben's chosen object is a gold turban. It was owned by his grandfather (a spice trader), who was a prominent member of the Ismaili Koja community in Zanzibar (in the Indian Ocean). Ismaili's are Shi'a Muslims, and followers of the Aga Khan (a descendent of the prophet Muhammad). Some estimates put their global population at over 15 million people.

The object, which has a high sentimental value to Sir Ben, is kept on a shelf next to his Oscar.

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  • 1. At 17:50 on 27 June 2010, jseema wrote:

    Having only caught the tail end of this piece on the radio, I logged on on-line as I was keen to hear the entire section about about this golden turban belonging to Sir Ben Kingsley's grandfather. I found the information very interesting and am glad that such objects are treasured. Items like these link us to our history, which in turn helps us make sense of our present.

    However, I do have one bone to pick with Sir Ben. He refers to being linked to two major events in history - the partition of India and the holocaust. He then goes on to refer to them as (and I paraphrase) one magnificient and one horrific. I was very disappointed to hear this distinction as I am afraid both these events were as horrific as each other. India's partition was one of the bloodiest episodes of the 20th century. Yes, India and Pakistan gained their independence but the human cost (approx 1.5-2million) is huge and rarely talked about. Now to hear even Sir Ben brush it aside saddens me deeply. This is clearly one event from history that will be swept under the proverbial carpet.

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  • 2. At 19:15 on 25 July 2010, aftab wrote:

    Very interesting to hear Sir Ben Kingsley talk about the gold turban. In fact I can sate that my grandfather and his brothers (who were Bohras)always wore one and a gold one at specia occaissions. In fact I own one (made with gold thread) which I inherited from my father which he wore at his wedding as did I.My grandfather who lived his life in Keny, East africa,

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