Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US on Tuesday was marked by the return of 200 ancient artifacts from the US to India. While the country is giving all its credit to Modi, it is actually the result of seamless work by a group of NRIs called India Pride Project (IPP).
As reported by DNA, the group bears the motto “Bring Home Our Gods” and has been working with Homeland Security Investigation department to find out antiques smuggled by Subhash Kapoor whose trial is going on in a jail in Tamil Nadu. All the 200 artifacts returned on Tuesday were the ones Kapoor had sold to different museums and collectors in the US.
This was just a project taken up by the IPP. They also claim to have worked behind high-profile returns of several other stolen artifacts like the Nataraja and Ardhanarishwara statues from Australia and Uma Parameshwari from Singapore, reports DNA.
The IPP helped the museum authorities and the investigators in the US to verify the authenticity of the statues matching those with old photographs found in archives and books. With the help of volunteers, the IPP collects photographs of Indian statues across the world. The Ganesh statue of Chola dynasty that was returned on Tuesday was photographed by an NRI IPP volunteer called Ravi Venugopal.
The DNA report also claims that India has a poor record in getting back stolen antiquities. The report of Culture Ministry suggests that since 1976, only 19 items have been returned to India. A 2013 – CAG report has blamed the Archaeological Survey of India for not taking more “effective steps” such as collecting information about Indian artifacts coming up for sale at international auctions.
But now, more artifacts are being returned. Apparently, India has a bad reputation of not prosecuting any heritage-smuggler successfully.
The Logical Indian applauds IPP for helping India in getting back its artifacts. We wish them best of luck for many such initiatives in future.
You can read the news in detail at DNA.