India is a country with the treasure of artefacts, scriptures, traditions, etc. Since time immemorial, various nations have been purchasing, plundering India’s cultural elements. Recently 14 artworks from The National Gallery of Australia will be returned to India. Export of these artefacts happened illegally in the past. Sculptures, scrolls, photos, and many more things are worth around $2.2 million (£1.57m)
Nick Mitzevich, Gallery director asserted, “A very difficult chapter of our history will be finished after this return.” The Chola dynasty administered over a blooming of Hindu art in Tamil Nadu in the 12th century and some of the disputed pieces are from this era also. A bronze statue of the Hindu God, Shiva, and other works attained via Kapoor has already been returned by the Canberra gallery in 2008.
AFP news agency reported that artworks will be returned to the government within months as per Mr. Mitzevich. The High Commissioner said the Afterlife of this moment will be known as an “extraordinary act of goodwill and gesture of friendship.” A new framework for evaluating provenance that contemplated, “both the legal and ethical aspects of a work of art’s history.” has been introduced by The National Gallery.
Subhash Kapoor was accountable for Operation Hidden Idol, a gigantic US Federal investigation that led to the convulsion of various historically substantial artefacts. The art of the Past gallery on Manhattan’s upper east side was possessed by Kapoor and was raided by the US authorities in early 2012. Tony Abbott, Prime Minister assured that Two ancient Hindu statues displayed in Australia but allegedly confiscated from Indian temples will be returned to India. Statues will be delivered to PM Modi in Delhi when Mr. Abbot will meet him.
In 2008, The National Gallery of Australia had purchased a statue of Nataraj- The dancing Shiva for $5m (£3m) from a New York dealer who is condemned for ravaging antiquities. The other scripture is a fusion of Shiva and his better half, Parvati also known as Ardhanari Nateshwar. The statue of Nataraja is analyzed as an epitome of bronze casting as it is a 900-year-old statue from the Chola period of Tamil Nadu. Dealer is awaiting trial in India and has serious charges against him of pillaging statues. India used to be the eternal box of antiquities and rich history but dealers like Kapoor have sold elements of India to other countries and grabbed each organ of India.
Amr Al-Azm is a Professor of Middle East History and anthropology at Shawnee State University in Ohio, United States. In an interview at UNESCO, he asserted, “The trafficking in antiquities from war zones in the Middle East has grown steadily over the past two decades.” Why is Culture targeted? When will this kind of smuggling come to an end? Trafficking of artistic elements is not new. It is a source of funding like natural resources, unconstitutional taxes, etc. Opportunistic attacks happen on cultural heritage sites but, some attacks are intentional.
Cultural heritage gets a gigantic threat from politically destabilized scenarios. One of the influential examples cited by UNESCO was an attack done by ISIS on the Temple of Bel in Palmyra and destroyed it. The contents of the museum in Mosul, Iraq. As a part of propaganda to manifest their power. To act with the dispensation. Smuggling happens to exert power.
India is a developing country just because, it has been sold by our people. Countries that are claiming to be developed have raised money by utilizing our antiquities. USA and UK also have purchased various artefacts and kept them in their glorious museums and raised money by implying tickets on artefacts. India has lost its glory. Slowly and gradually situations are becoming normal but the loss suffered by Bharata is not measurable. Universities like Nalanda and Takshashila made Indian Education the supreme in the entire world but, people like Bakhtiyar Khilji burnt the identity of India. India is cursed with the presence of people like Khilji, Kapoor, Gandhi, who grabbed, destroyed, and sold the elements of Bharata. In the coming years, India will become spectacular again but will have to wait for many years.