Ten antiquities (sculptures) retrieved from Australia and USA were handed -over to the Government of Tamil Nadu today in New Delhi.Shri G Kishan Reddy, Union Minister of Culture, Tourism and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) attended the handing-over ceremony of 10 sculptures to the Government of Tamil Nadu at Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) ,New Delhi . Minister of State for Culture, Smt Meenakshi Lekhi ; Minister of State for Culture, Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal and Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Shri L Murugan along with officials from the Ministry of Culture, Archeological Survey of India, Ministry of External Affairs and Tamil Nadu Government were also present.
While addressing at the event, the Union Minister said, “Over the last 8 years, the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken several steps to preserve our ancient civilisational ethos, Protect our cultural and spiritual heritage and Propagate Indian Knowledge systems and traditions across the world. Bringing Our Gods Home is one such initiative that is rooted in preserving, promoting and propagating our heritage”. He added, “ The Prime Minister’s personal relationships and warm ties with world leaders from these countries have led to the respective countries swiftly identifying the stolen antiquities and sustained cooperation till their return. Therefore all the credit goes to our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji. He has not only made efforts to help retrieve these antiquities but also personally carried them back with him during his official tours abroad”.
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. The Union Minister Shri, G Kishan Reddy lauded the efforts of the Central Government and highlighted the increase in the number of idols which have been repatriated since 2014. He said, “During the visit of our Hon’ble Prime Minister to the USA, 157 antiquities were returned to India which is being the largest single collection India got back so far.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. Friends, the figures speak for themselves and reflect the importance this Government attaches to our heritage. With the sustained effort of the Government of India, and 228 antiquities being brought back since 2014, the total number has now become 241”.
The Union Minister added, “India is celebrating her 75th year of independence through Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. As India enters 25 years of Amrit Kaal, this is an opportunity to take the lead as a global protector of indigenous culture, traditions and heritage. This event and process of repatriating our stolen heritage will allow an open and honest conversation on decolonisation”.
A booklet on the ten antiquities was also released on the occasion.