To the list of permanent exhibits and possessions officially declared by these museums and libraries must be added -
1. Objects which are never exhibited for public viewing
2. Objects which are now in private collections of the rich and infamous, and
3. Objects which even people in the countries of their origin may not know about in some private collection and in the dark interiors of museums and libraries
The only history to be spared the depredations of Christian vandals which they could not uproot and cart away to Europe and America, and those which successive jihadi hordes could not destroy and reduce to rubble are the petroglyphs and pictograms in the caves of India. India should demand that all such objects including the priceless Saraswati-Indus seals, temple pediments and colonnades and every murti of our gods and goddesses once worshipped in our temples and homes be returned to India where they belong.
Besides the fourteen objects with the Saraswati-Indus script, the writer saw in the collection of colonial loot, a portion of the Mathura Lion Capital, the base of an exquisitely carved temple column from Dwarka, breathtakingly beautiful murtis from every corner of our country - of Vishnu, Shiva, Surya, Parvati, Rukmani, Vaishnavi, Kartikeya and Narthana (Dancing) Ganesha.
If India, Greece and Egypt bore the brunt of western archeologists, Native Americans suffered anthropologists.
This is the invaluable and priceless wealth, our history and heritage, objects which define national self-identity, which we must bring back. This is wealth which cannot be replicated, regenerated or renewed; black money, however big in monetary terms, is only a very small and negligible aspect of our national wealth.
India has to take the lead in this direction as only India can, because India’s Hindu civilization is still alive and vibrant. More importantly, India has the moral authority as a non-aggressive and non-acquisitive civilization to make the demand for the return of all objects of history and national self-identity to the nations of their origin.
Radha Rajan is Editor www.vigilonline.com and author of Eclipse of the Hindu Nation: Gandhi and His Freedom Struggle.
This article was written for the Independence Day Special issue of Organiser
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