Monday, June 7, 2010

Organiser - Western countries must return Indian antiquities. They are India's wealth

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    • Western countries must return Indian antiquities. They are India's wealth
    • THE Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India Dr Gautam Sengupta recently said that India will launch a "diplomatic and legal campaign" to retrieve India’s stolen and looted antiquities that adorn western museums now. Top in the list are the Koh-I-Noor diamond, the Sultanganj Buddha (over 1500 years old), the idol of goddess Saraswati from Raja Bhoj’s temple, and Amravati railings, he said. Sengupta rightly said that the list of items looted, stolen and forced out of the country is too long to handle. And yet, India must make a beginning. The efforts made till now have not borne fruit. Now India has decided to seek the help of UNESCO and the support of other nations like Mexico, Egypt, Greece and China who are also victims of colonial loot.
    • There was the classic case of the idol of Nataraja, installed at the Puttur temple in Tamil Nadu, which was traced at London. It was returned to India and restored to the temple after a long drawn legal battle.

      One of the rarest of rare Atharva Veda manuscript in Sharda script (dated 900 BC) is now located in the Tubingen University Library, Germany. The library presented a digitised version of this manuscript to India a few years ago.
    • While this issue is undisputable that the precious artefacts should be returned to the countries of origin, it is equally important to ponder over our own track record in caring for the remnants of our great cultural past.
    • here is a law that says that any article of more than 75 years old cannot be taken out of the borders of India. The ASI has the responsibility to give approval for any antiquity to be taken out. The law is never applied in spirit.

      Dr Subramanian Swamy had filed a case in the Supreme Court against antiquity smuggling with the collusion of senior politicians. He had sought to expose how the nexus worked.
    • No other country suffered such loot as India did, also because no other nation had this treasure of precious things. From Babur to Nadir Shah to Gazni to Khilji to Robert Clive to Dalhousie, it has been one raid after another.

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