The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is reportedly leading efforts to reclaim all objects ‘trafficked’ out of India since Independence and plans the repatriation of the famous Kohinoor Diamond from the UK.
The Narendra Modi-led Central government is planning repatriation campaign to bring back the controversial Kohinoor diamond and other artefacts of the colonial era including idols and sculptures from museums across the UK, news agency PTI said quoting a report in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph. The report said this issue is among one of the top priorities on Prime Minister Modi’s checklist while adding this issue could impact diplomatic and trade talks between the two countries.
While the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is reportedly leading efforts to reclaim all objects “trafficked” out of India since Independence, officials are possibly coordinating with diplomats in London to make formal requests to institutions having these artefacts as “spoils of war” or collected by enthusiasts during the colonial rule in India.
The newspaper stated that the Indian government will first approach small museums and private collectors and then move onto larger institutions and the Royal collections. It added that small museums and private collectors might be more than willing to hand over the artefacts.
Senior Indian officials are of the view that historical artefacts reinforce a strong cultural identity. It added there seems to be a political will to achieve the symbolic post-colonial victory that comes with the return of Kohinoor to India.
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Lily Pandeya, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, was quoted as saying: “Antiquities have both physical and intangible value, they are part of the continuity of cultural heritage, of community and national identity. By robbing these artefacts, you are robbing this value, and breaking the continuity of knowledge and community”.
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