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Current Affairs

India’s stolen treasures around world

Date: 24 October 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Earlier this month, some of Netherlands’ most famous museums, supported a report proposing the repatriation of thousands of works of art to their country of origin, where they were forcibly taken from during colonial times.

 

Background

While repatriation of colonial-era objects in European museums has often been under discussion and recurrent demand for their return raised, the Black Lives Matter movement has brought attention to the issue once again.

 

Details

  • With museums from the Netherlands promising to return over one lakh artefacts looted from Sri Lanka and Indonesia, there is demand in Hyderabad that the Dutch should also give India 17th century miniature paintings from the erstwhile Golconda kingdom.

  • There are also appeals for the return of a royal charter of the Chola kings, lost 300 years ago from Tamil Nadu, and now at the Leiden University in the Netherlands.

  • While this year saw the handing over of Natesha Shiva statue stolen from the Ghateshwar temple in Baroli, Rajasthan, to the Archeological Survey of India, two antiques – a 17th century bronze idol of  Navaneetha Krishna and a 2nd century limestone carved pillar motif — were also returned to India.

  • Last month, Britain returned three 15th century idols of Lord Ram, Lakshman, and Sita to India which was stolen from a temple built in the Vijayanagar period in Tamil Nadu.

  • This year, US authorities returned a set of antiques to India, including a limestone relief of Shiva and Parvati and a marble Apsara.

  • The Australian Government returned a pair of door guardians from the 15th century, from Tamil Nadu; and a sculpture of the serpent king, from Rajasthan or Madhya Pradesh, made in the sixth to eighth centuries.

  • There are several significant national artefacts that India has been pressing to be returned from across the world, especially from the UK. Topping the list is the world famous Kohinoor Diamond.

  • Likewise, both India and Pakistan want the return of Tipu’s Wooden Tiger, currently on display at a London museum.

  • India also wants Britain to return the 7.5-foot tall Buddha statue on display at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, and the throne of Maharaja Ranjit Singh taken away by the British as state property when Punjab was annexed in 1849.