Australian PM returns 11th century stolen idols to Modi

Both the statues were allegedly stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and their return was sought by India in March.

By: Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: September 5, 2014 8:26 pm
modi-L Abbott returned the idols, one of which is a Nataraja –the dancing Shiva– which belonged to the Chola dynasty of 11th-12th century. (Source: PTI)

On Friday Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott  handed over to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi two antique statues of Hindu deities which were allegedly stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu before being bought by art galleries in Australia.

During his meeting with Modi, Abbott returned the idols, one of which is a Nataraja –the dancing Shiva– which belonged to the Chola dynasty of 11th-12th century.

The other sculpture is of Ardhanariswara, which represents Shiva in half-female form, and dates back to 10th century.

Both the statues were allegedly stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu and their return was sought by India in March.

Returning the sculptures is a testimony to Australia’s good citizenship on such matters and the importance with which Australia views its relationship with India, Abbott’s office said.

The Nataraja statue, cast in bronze, was purchased by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in February 2008 at a price of USD 5.1 million from art and antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor who was then based in New York.

The Ardhanariswara statue was purchased by the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2004 for approximately 300,000 Australian dollar (USD 280,979).

In 2012, Kapoor, owner of the “Art of the Past” gallery in New York, was arrested in Germany and subsequently extradited to India. He is accused of conspiracy to commit burglary and smuggling from Tamil Nadu antique idols of Hindu deities belonging to Chola dynasty.

The case is currently at the prosecution stage in Tamil Nadu and Australian authorities have been assisting in conducting investigation in the case in Australia.

In March, the Ministy of External Affairs had through India’s High Commission in Canberra made a formal proposal to the Australian Department of Attorney General by forwarding the request of the Tamil Nadu police for the return of the two idols.

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  1. B
    bharati
    Sep 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm
    Saddest part we Indians lack national pride in out cultural heritage a failure attributable to our history books- present generation is completely unaware about our rich and varied clical heritage history as the what is taught is post independence after India became a nation as if we never existed- only those involved in advanced studies get to know facts the rest are completely oblivious thanks to our modern education which had completely blanked our past.
    Reply
  2. R
    Rahul Chauhan
    Sep 6, 2014 at 8:25 am
    I believe it was the UPA government that arrested the man responsible for smuggling. Modi ko sab credit chahiye hai. Aise logo ko Hindi mai Makkar kehte hai.
    Reply
  3. P
    Proton
    Sep 5, 2014 at 11:57 pm
    No comments so far on such a glorious and news of generosity displa by Australians ! ?With such a gesture, Mr Abbott, you have won hearts of many Indians in one go. We shall never forget warmth extended by an Australian towards our great culture.
    Reply
  4. G
    Gangu true
    Sep 6, 2014 at 8:09 am
    are both aethists trained by Aringer and Peringer ideologies. Karuna has Alzhimer's, he does not recall any fraud committed by Kanni or Raja.
    Reply
  5. A
    Akash Kumar
    Sep 8, 2014 at 1:44 pm
    u dnt knw,sonia herself use to smuggle idols and antiques to italy...
    Reply
  6. M
    MMS
    Sep 6, 2014 at 3:46 am
    Time to ask the British queen to return the Kohinoor & the other wrongfully acquired precious items!
    Reply
  7. M
    Murali Mohan
    Sep 6, 2014 at 7:14 am
    NICE GESTURE BY AUSTRALIAN PM BY RETURNING THE LORD SHIVA IDOLS
    Reply
  8. R
    ramdas
    Sep 6, 2014 at 7:37 am
    Many Idols went missing during the UPA regime of 10 years. Subramaniam swamy was accusing the chairperson. Any connections ?
    Reply
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