The recent announcement by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to return 15 antiquities, which were linked to a smuggler currently in a Tamil Nadu jail, back to India has been widely welcomed by many. G Kishan Reddy, the Union Culture Minister, has described the decision as “welcome” and as a positive step toward preserving India’s cultural heritage.
Others have also praised the move, including Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan, who tweeted his appreciation and noted that the return of these sculptures was a matter of pride for Indians.
As well as applauding the decision, heritage conservation experts noted that it calls for a sustained and continued effort to preserve and protect Indian culture. This development serves as a unique opportunity to showcase India’s rich cultural history and highlight the importance of safeguarding and preserving its cultural heritage for future generations.
In general, the decision to return these antiquities is seen as a positive step towards strengthening cultural ties between nations and promoting international cooperation in the preservation of cultural heritage. It is hoped that this move will inspire similar initiatives towards protecting and promoting cultural heritage across the globe.
The Met has decided to return over 200 ancient artifacts to India following a search warrant issued by the New York Supreme Court, and just two weeks after The Indian Express, in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Finance Uncovered, conducted an investigation which showed Subhash Kapoor had links to at least 77 items in the museum’s catalog. Kapoor is already serving a 10-year prison sentence in Tamil Nadu due to charges of smuggling antiquities.
Met’s move is a significant step towards restoring stolen cultural heritage to its rightful owners. In response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of “Vikas bhi Virasat bhi,” which emphasizes the importance of preserving and promoting India’s cultural heritage, the Indian government has been actively working toward the repatriation of looted artifacts. According to Union Culture Minister Reddy, initiatives such as “Bringing Our Gods Home” are in alignment with Prime Minister Modi’s vision.
India’s rich cultural heritage will be preserved by returning these artifacts to India and other museums and collectors will be reminded to verify the provenance of their collections more diligently. In the fight against antiquities trade and preservation of cultural heritage worldwide, this is a positive development.
he Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) has announced its decision to return over 200 ancient artifacts to India, following an investigation revealing links between the museum’s collection and Subhash Kapoor, who is currently serving a 10-year jail term for smuggling antiquities. Tasneem Mehta, honorary director, and managing trustee at Mumbai’s Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, has called this move a victory but emphasizes the need for hard follow-through work. Mehta believes that this moment can be used to reflect on major issues plaguing the art world, including smuggling and fakes, and calls for an independent regulatory body to handle such issues. The repatriation of these artifacts to India is a significant step towards preserving India’s cultural heritage and sending a message to other museums and collectors to be more diligent in verifying the provenance of their collections.
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