The Union government on Tuesday said a total of 231 antiquities of Indian origin had been brought back to India since 2014, and close to 72 were in the process of being repatriated from various countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Singapore, and Australia.
“The Prime Minister himself has discussed this matter with global leaders and many multilateral institutions, and today, innumerable countries are themselves reaching out to India to send back stolen artefacts and antiquities,” Union Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy said.
He said that the efforts were part of the government’s steps to preserve ancient civilisational ethos, protect cultural and spiritual heritage, and propagate Indian knowledge systems and traditions across the world. “Bringing our gods home is one such initiative that is rooted in preserving, promoting and propagating our heritage,” Mr. Reddy said.
The Minister also pointed out the UNESCO has a total of 1,154 monuments designated as World Heritage Sites from all over the world. Apart from India, only Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France have 40 or more World Heritage Sites.
“Out of 40 World Heritage inscriptions, 10 have been done in the last nine years with a wide range of diversity from across India. India’s tentative list has increased from 15 in 2014 to 52 in 2022. Considering that 52 more sites are on India’s World Heritage tentative list, our heritage monuments will play a huge role in transforming the tourism sector,” Mr. Reddy said in a statement on the occasion of World Heritage Day.
April 18 was announced as the World Heritage Day in 1982 by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). This was approved by UNESCO’s General Assembly in 1983, to increase awareness on the importance of cultural heritage and monuments, and conserving them.