Can lend but won’t return Indian artefacts: British Museum

Artefacts that had been taken from India by the British during colonial times and are part of the British Museum may be lent for exhibition in India,but cannot be returned,British Museum Director Neil Macgregor said on Friday.

Written by Prashant Pandey | Allahabad | Published:April 6, 2013 3:58 am

Artefacts that had been taken from India by the British during colonial times and are part of the British Museum may be lent for exhibition in India,but cannot be returned,British Museum Director Neil Macgregor said on Friday.

Macgregor,author of the bestselling book “A History of World in 100 Objects” which followed a successful series on the BBC,said,“The point is whether you want people to understand other cultures. It is more important to see who all are allowed to see the artefacts rather than who takes care of them. Sharing the collections and lending the objects around the world is welcome.”

Macgregor pointed out that the British Museum has lent objects to the Mumbai museum for holding an exhibition on Egyptian culture. On the other hand,the British Museum presented an exhibition of Indian culture in Abu Dhabi,using their artefacts.

In February,British Prime Minister David Cameron,during his visit to India,had said that he was not in favour of returning the Kohinoor diamond,which was taken out of India during colonial times and is part of the British crown jewels. He had,however,said that the British Museum and other such institutions should link up with institutions around the world so that such artefacts are properly shared.

In a lighter vein,Macgregor said that Indian artefacts presently in Britain could be returned provided “you return the cricket to us”. “The world has moved around. There are many from India who are now British citizens,” he said.

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