Prime Minister Narendra Modi brings back priceless artifacts and Indian antiques from the United States, one of which is said to be at least 7,000 years old. The United States handed over 157 pieces of artefacts to Prime Minister Modi, for which he “expressed deep gratitude for the repatriation of antiquities to India by the United States,” the government said in a statement today. .
Prime Minister Modi is in the United States for a three-day visit filled with bilateral meetings and other important engagements, including an address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Prime Minister Modi and US President Joe Biden pledged to step up efforts to tackle theft, illegal trade and trafficking in cultural objects, the government said.
The list of 157 artefacts includes a diverse set of items ranging from a one and a half meter bas-relief panel of Revanta in sandstone from the 10th CE to an exquisite 8.5cm high bronze Nataraja from the 12th CE.
“The artefacts largely belong to the 11th-14th CE period as well as historical antiquities such as an anthropomorphic copper object from 2000 BC.
If half of the artefacts (71) are cultural, the other half are made up of figurines linked to Hinduism (60), Buddhism (16) and Jainism (9).
The objects are made of metal, stone and terracotta.
“This continues the efforts of the Modi government to bring back our antiques and artifacts from all over the world,” the government said.
The government is actively pursuing the recovery of Indian antiques that have been stolen and forcibly taken by colonialists over the years.
Between 2004 and 2014, only one ancient antiquity returned to India. However, between 2014 and 2021, more than 200 antiques were returned or are in the process of being returned. In addition, between 1976 and 2013, only 13 of these antiques were returned. “This means that in seven years the Modi government brought back more ancient Indian treasures than the previous four decades,” sources said.
Stolen antiques are collected in the United States, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom. The National Gallery of Australia announced in July this year its intention to return stolen works of art worth $ 2.2 million to India.
These antiques had been stolen from almost all parts of India, such as Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Bihar.
No thefts have been reported from any centrally protected monument or site museum as part of the Archaeological Survey of India in recent years, which is a significant achievement in the protection of Indian heritage.