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Updated: Nov 25, 2021


We take immense pride in #India’s unique and glorious #history, and yet the unfortunate irony is that most of the best relics of this history are scattered across museums and private collections far away from India. The large scale looting of India by British colonisers deprived it of tens of thousands of priceless artworks among so much else.

Even as India approaches 75 years of #independence and claims to have arrived as a major political and economic power on the world stage, surprisingly there is little to no national discussion about restoring our vast stolen heritage. In recent years a few volunteer-based independent initiatives have emerged working towards building a moral case for restitution of Indian artefacts. They argue that “History belongs to Geography”, and it is wrong for the #heritage of #Indian people to be located elsewhere.

While their efforts have been quite successful in bringing back many important antiquities smuggled out of India post independence, the national museums of UK and many other western countries have flatly refused to return art objects plundered during the colonial period. Arguments range from the futility of correcting historical wrongs to the inability of India in protecting and preserving precious art. Some Indian scholars also support this view pointing to the apathy of the Indian government and broader society towards #art. They highlight the dismal condition of most of India’s resource-starved museums and the poor treatment meted out to many of the recovered artworks. But does India’s alleged incompetence in looking after its heritage entitle others to own it? Are Indian #artworks really better off in international museums?



~ Dr. Naman Ahuja

Ahuja, Naman P. ‘The Paradox of International Laws while Protecting and Preserving Heritage’in Susan Visvanathan ed., Art, Politics, Symbols and Religion:A reader for Humanities and Design Students, Windshield Press, New Delhi, 2019, pp. 137-148


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(Post) Colonialism & Cultural Heritage By Prof. Jyotindra Jain

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~ Articles By Anuraag Saxena, Founder Indian Pride Project

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