A collection of antiquities, including Dwarapala, Kankalamurti Kadayam, and Nataraja figurines will find pride of place after these were returned to the state.
The Union Ministry of Culture returned 10 antique figurines, retrieved from the United States and Australia, to the Tamil Nadu government. Union Culture and Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy said during the event that the Centre would make efforts to retrieve Indian antiquities smuggled abroad and return those to the states from where the articles were stolen.
During the event at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, Reddy said the Centre had taken several steps to preserve the country’s ancient civilisational ethos over the past eight years.
“Bringing our gods home is one such initiative that is rooted in preserving, promoting and propagating our heritage,” he said. He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal relationships with world leaders for the swift identification of the stolen antiquities and cooperation in their return.
“Therefore, all the credit goes to Prime Minister Modi. He has not only made efforts to help retrieve these antiquities, but also personally carried them back with him during his official tours abroad,” Reddy added.
The collection of antiquities handed over to Tamil Nadu included figurines named Dwarapala, Kankalamurti Kadayam, Nataraja, Four-Armed Vishnu, Nadikeswara Kadayam, Siva and Parvati, Sri Devi, Child Sambandar, and Standing Child Sambandar.
Reddy also highlighted the increase in the number of idols repatriated since Modi took charge. During the prime minister’s visit to the United States, 157 antiquities were returned to India, Reddy said.
“You would be aware that over the last eight years, the government has brought back 228 heritage objects. Only 13 antiquities were brought back to India between Independence and 2013. …the figures speak for themselves and reflect the importance this government attaches to our heritage. With the sustained efforts of the government and with 228 antiquities brought back since 2014, the total number is now 241.”
“History belongs to its geography. As a continuous living civilisation, India’s heritage belongs to the temples and places it was taken from. Bringing our gods home is one such initiative that is rooted in preserving, promoting and propagating our heritage,” the minister tweeted.
With inputs from PTI.