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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Durga in Mahishasuramarthini Avtar idol returns to Kashmir from Germany !

Ms Angela Merkel is in India, on a mission to clear the path for German companies keen to do business in India, as Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi looks to the European powerhouse to help revive its economy.  Angela Dorothea Merkel is no ordinary politician – the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and the first woman to hold this Office has a Ph.D. in quantum chemistry.  She is among the favourites to win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her response to the refugee crisis, according to researchers and bookmakers. “Angela Merkel has been quite remarkable in taking leadership in a rather embarrassing discussion in the European context and expressing a clear moral voice” that has helped turn the debate around, Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, said recently. 

There is more news to cheer as - Germany on Monday returned to India a 10th  century Durga idol which had gone missing from a temple in Kashmir over two decades back and was later found in that country. The idol was handed over by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi after their talks in New Delhi, three years after it was spotted in a museum in Stuttgart. Shri Modiji  thanked Merkel and the people of Germany for returning the idol, saying “The statue is from Jammu and Kashmir & is a symbol of victory of good over evil.”

The federal state of Baden-Württemberg returned the statue called "Durga Mahishasuramardini" to the Republic of India "for ethical reasons", Arndt Oschmann from the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts said earlier.  According to Press release, the Linden State Museum for Ethnology in Stuttgart bought the statue in the year 2000, using funds from Baden-Württemberg's Museum Foundation. The stone idol cost $250,000 (Rs.1.63 crores). "Back then, the Linden Museum examined where the statue came from, but there were no qualms about its origin. The seller, Subhash Kapoor from New York, was known as a reliable art dealer," ministry spokesman Oschmann explained.

That was not to be - more than a decade later, Kapoor was arrested at Frankfurt International Airport and extradited to India in July 2012 on charges of handling stolen artifacts from temples in southern India. "It turned out that the statue disappeared from a temple in Tengpona in India in the year 1991 and that it was smuggled out of the country eventually," Oschmann told DW.

The statue of the Hindu goddess Durga is estimated to date back to the 9th or 10th century, according to the Linden Museum. Neither the museum nor the federal state of Baden-Württemberg will receive any financial compensation. However, returning the statue as a goodwill gesture strengthens the state's reputation, said Jürgen Walter, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts. "The importance of a good reputation exceeds by far the material value of the statue," he stated.

According to the "Daily Mail", the archaeological agency "Archaeological Survey of India" (ASI) is concerned about 30 other antiques fraudulently smuggled out of India by Subhash Kapoor. These include 17th century manuscripts of the Sanskrit epic "Mahabharata", currently on display in Singapore's Asian Civilizations Museum.

The idol Durga  in Mahishasuramarthini  avatar was stolen from a temple at Pulwama in Kashmir in the 1990s, official sources said. An FIR was registered in connection with the theft. In 2012, Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) received a tip-off that the idol was spotted at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart. Thereafter, the government started the process of getting it back. Two ASI officials visited Stuttgart for the purpose last year. Armed with the FIR, which is a crucial evidence that the idol belonged to India, the government took up the issue with the concerned authorities in Germany.

Germany has since returned the idol – the Durga idol was handed over by visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi after their talks here, three years after it was spotted in a museum in Stuttgart.

Happy reading this.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Oct 2o15

Source : The Indian Express and

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