In yet another auction abroad, heritage items from Chandigarh will go under the hammer for a whopping Rs 1.5 crore. The auction for the furniture designed by Pierre Jeanneret will be held in Paris on October 27.
The objects to be auctioned include Jeanneret’s pair of easy arm chairs in teak and wicker with a reserve price between 10,000 to 15,000 Euros; set of six office armchairs, also in teak and wicker, with a reserve price between 30,000 to 45,000 Euros; a daybed in teak and cowhide with an estimated reserve price between 18,000 and 25,000 Euros and a pair of advocate armchairs in teak and hide with a reserve price between 25,000 to 35,000 Euros.
Only ten days ago, on October 15, heritage items designed by Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier were auctioned for about Rs 2.11 crore in London. In the auction, the highest price of Rs 75.11 lakh was fetched for a committee table designed by Jeanneret and Le Corbusier for the Assembly.
On getting to know about the auction in Paris on October 27, Ajay Jagga, a member of the Heritage Protection Cell, wrote a letter to the Union Minister for External affairs, Ambassador Indian Embassy Paris and the deputy Chief of Mission, Indian Mission Paris, demanding a probe, besides urging the Indian Embassy to stall the auction.
In his letter, Jagga specified that “The Indian Embassy in Paris should be asked to step in and attempt to stall the auction of heritage items (which are property of Chandigarh) and the matter be probed as to how these banned items has gone beyond the territory of India, in violation of MHA orders 22 February, 2011. These Pierre Jeanneret designed articles are of Chandigarh and have an outstanding universal value.”
He said the representation has been filed in accordance with the Article 51A of the Constitution of India, which says “It will be the duty of every citizen of India—(f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture; (i) to safeguard public property.”
He also said that “the auction of Indian heritage by foreign auction houses is spreading and going on and on, causing huge losses to the nation’s prestige apart from violation of law imposing a ban on such activities, and as such it is appealed that all foreign embassies (of India) may be alerted and the UN may also be approached, reminding UNESCO of its international commitment to combat trafficking of cultural objects.”
The member of the heritage protection cell said that the recent ASI order banning the export such items from sea and air ports further gives evidence that our nation is committed to stop this cultural trafficking.
“You are requested to look into the matter so that the auction of our smuggled heritage items can be stalled. Also, ask the local law enforcing agencies to help. The auction house should give proof about from where and when they bought these goods, as the export of these goods are banned,” he said.
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