The New York District Attorney office has returned over 150 antiquities to India on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three days visit to the United States. Both P.M Narendra Modi and U.S President Joe Biden committed to strengthening efforts to combat theft, illicit trade and trafficking of cultural objects, said the government in a statement on Saturday.
Some of artefacts which were included in the diverse set of item a half metre bas relief panel of Revanta in sandston of the 10th CE to the 8.5cm tall, exquisite bronze Nataraja from the 12th CE. The items largely belong to the period of 11th CE to 14th CE as well as historic antiquities such as the copper anthropomorphic object of 2000 BC or the terracotta vase from the 2nd CE. According to the statement some 45 antiquites belong to the Before Common Era.
71 artefacts are cultural while other half are figurines related to Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The ornate figurines are postures of Lakshmi Narayana, Buddha, Vishnu, Siva Parvathi and the 24 Jain Tirthankaras and the less common Kankalamurti, Brahmi and Nandikesa besides other unnamed deities and divine figures. There are 56 terracotta pieces (Vase 2nd CE, Pair of Deer 12th CE, Bust of Female 14th CE) and an 18th CE sword with sheath with inscription mentioning Guru Hargovind Singh in Persian).
The Modi Government has been actively making efforts to bring back Indian antiquities & artefacts from across the world.
According to NDTV, between 2004 and 2014, only one ancient antiquity returned to India. However, between 2014 and 2021, over 200 antiquities have either returned or are in the process of being returned. A source told NDTV, “This means, in seven years, the Modi government has brought back more ancient Indian treasures than the four decades before it.”
From several countries stolen antiquities are being retrieved. Countries like US, Australia, Singapore, Germany, Canada and the UK. This year The National Gallery of Australia in July year announced its plans to return stolen artworks worth $2.2 million to India.