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The India Pride Project- Restoring Indian Heritage

“Every decade, India loses about 20,000 objects to an organised international network of politicians, bankers and smugglers. If one village loss its deity, it affects the whole nation”.

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Anuraag Saxena Source: Youtube
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By Akanksha Sharma

The India Pride Project (IPP) – is an establishment determined to bring back the stolen art and lost treasures of India. Founded in 2013, it is headed by Anuraag Saxena, who currently works as Asia-pacific CEO for the World Education Foundation, UK. The project has a core team consisting of 11 member- all of them engaged in regular full-time jobs in education, banking, business and some are historians.

The main objectives of IPP are:-

  1. Bringing back lost Indian heritage.
  2. Creating awareness through social network
  3. Creating awareness among Government agencies
  4. Instilling the fear in buyer’s mind

Watch this video: Shri Anuraag Saxena

They received their first success when the 11th century Chola statue of Sripurnthan Natarajan was handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot in 2014.

The idol was stolen from Bihadeshwara Temple in 2006, since then the temple witnessed reduced number of worshipers. The dancing sculpture of Shiva was smuggled by a New-York based art dealer Shubhash Kapoor.

Source: ipp.org.in

“We told them that if you bought the idol in good faith, which we think they did, you should return it back in good faith” the team informed the museum in Australia and further spread awareness about the situation.

File:Shiva as the Lord of Dance LACMA edit.jpg
Sripurnthan Natarajan Source: Wikimedia commons

“Vijay and I lived outside India for a relatively longish time and we were bowled over by the pride other nations have in their heritage. And some of these aren’t even as ancient as India. We thought about what heritage meant to communities in real India – in villages, a temple or a banyan tree has so much significance – that we decided to do something,” says Vijay Saxena.

He further added “Every decade, India loses about 20,000 objects to an organised international network of politicians, bankers and smugglers. If one village loses its deity, it affects the whole nation”.

Main goals of IPP are :-

  • Restitution of 5,000 items in 10 years.
  • Bring back US $50 million of looted artifacts in India in 2 years.
  • Create precedence through successful prosecution of criminal art-dealers
  • create a national institution for identifying and conserving Indian artifacts

Related: Sacred Indian art is seen more as “Art” than as “Sacred” in the art market: Dr. Donna Yates

“We have a few people within the government and law enforcement departments who like what we are doing and let us know. In many cases, a villager tells us or we come to know when the case is reported in newspapers,” says Saxena on methods of tracing the looted artifacts.

“Indian art is sitting in various museums, and we have to study their documents and provenances carefully. The same goes for auction data,” says Vijay Kumar, who is a blogger and general manager of a shipping company.

They’ve recently launched an online petition: www.tiny.cc/bogh.

Akanksha Sharma is a student of Journalism in New Delhi. She currently works as an intern in Newsgram. Twitter: @Akanksha4117

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  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    A remarkable initiative..

  • Shubhi Mangla

    A remarkable initiative by Mr. Anurag Saxena and Vijay Kumar….i hope our government was as concerned about this matter especially when our hourable Prime Minister signed a treaty that India doesn’t want to receive these precious sculptures back

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    A remarkable initiative..

  • Shubhi Mangla

    A remarkable initiative by Mr. Anurag Saxena and Vijay Kumar….i hope our government was as concerned about this matter especially when our hourable Prime Minister signed a treaty that India doesn’t want to receive these precious sculptures back

Next Story

India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.