More stolen antiquities returned to India

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During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US, 157 antiquities were returned to India which is being the largest single collection India got back so far…reports Asian Lite News

Ten antiquities retrieved from Australia and the US, five each from the two countries, were handed over to the Government of Tamil Nadu in New Delhi on Wednesday. These have been retrieved over the past year.

The collection of antiquities handed over to the Tamil Nadu government included figurines named Dwarapala, Nataraja, Kankalamurti Kadayam, Nadikeswara Kadayam, Four-Armed Vishnu, Sri Devi, Siva & Parvati, Standing Child Sambandar, and Child Sambandar, said the Ministry of Culture.

They were handed over at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) in the presence of Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Kishan Reddy and Ministers of State Meenakshi Lekhi, Arjun Meghwal, and L Murugan.

During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the US, 157 antiquities were returned to India which is being the largest single collection India got back so far, Reddy pointed out.

“You would be aware that over the last 8 years the Government has brought back 228 heritage objects. Only 13 antiquities were brought back to India between Independence and 2013. With the sustained effort of the Government of India, and 228 antiquities being brought back since 2014, the total number has now become 241,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently thanked Australia for returning 29 Indian-origin artifacts that hade been stripped from the South Asian country illegally. It’s the latest in a string of ancient artifacts that have been returned to India.

The objects — including sculptures, paintings, photographs and a scroll — date back to the ninth century and were held by the National Gallery of Australia.

“I thank you for your initiative to return Indian antiquities and the antiquities sent by you include artifacts hundreds of years old and photos that were illegally taken out of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and other Indian states,” Modi told Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the 2nd India-Australia Virtual Summit on March 21.

A catalog shared by the government showcased 12th-century Chola bronzes, 11th-12th century Jain sculptures from Rajasthan, 12th-13th century sandstone Goddess Mahisasuramardini from Gujarat, a number of 18th-19th century paintings, and early gelatin silver photographs.

India has lost several significant national artifacts, first under British colonial rule and then through illegal smuggling activities. As the conversation around looted artifacts gains prominence across the world, its attempts to repatriate stolen heritage items are bearing fruit.

In September last year, Prime Minister Modi was credited with bringing back 157 Indian artifacts, which were handed to him during his visit to the United States, where he and US President Joe Biden expressed their commitment to strengthening efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and the trafficking of such objects.

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