Copies of chapters from the historical Ain-i-Akbari, coins from the Kushan Era and beautiful sculptures are some of the items that may accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he leaves for a five-nation tour next month.
In an attempt to further India’s diplomatic reach around China, Modi is scheduled to visit Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in the second week of July. These unique artifacts, which have a link to Central Asia as well as a strong India connect, may be among the gift items the PM carries for his hosts, the heads of states of the five nations.
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Government officials tasked with this assignment are now scouring through relevant artifacts, which are in the possession of the government, trying to find the right gifts with historical as well as cultural significance. So far, chapters about Fatehpur Sikri in Akbarnama (Ain-i-Akbari) and coins of the Kushan Era have been finalised as gift items, said sources.
Other items being considered are copies of chapters from Baburnama by Abdul Rahim, written at Akbar’s behest, dating back to the 16th century.
Ain-i-Akbari, authored by Akbar’s historian Abul Fazal in the 16th century, is displayed at the Hazarduari Palace museum in Murshidabad, West Bengal. Officials have been directed to get copies of the relevant chapters and send them to Delhi for the consideration of the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Kushan era coins and the sculptures are currently on display at Delhi’s National Museum. These coins are significant as the Kushan empire, in its prime in the second and third century C.E, stretched from Central Asia to the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, including Varanasi.
The government is also in the process of engaging those fluent in Persian, including some retired officials, to translate literary works, excerpts from which can be used in the official documents accompanying the gifts, said sources. Proper replicas of items and copies of the historical texts are also being commissioned, they said.
A minor hitch before the government is that a large number of the items related to Central Asia, which are in India’s possession, are from Chinese Central Asian regions. Most of these items were brought in by British archaeologists during British rule, government experts believe.