National Treasure

While some states in India have taken massive initiatives to protect, preserve and document antiquities, Jammu and Kashmir is seemingly running in opposite direction. The government’s failure to trace many priceless artifacts stolen from state’s Shri Pratap Singh (SPS) museum in Srinagar— a fact which would have remained off the public eye but for a Public Interest Litigation in the State High Court— is inexcusable. Protection of the cultural heritage encompassing in its wider scope all the archaeological sites, artifacts, historical buildings, significant objects, etc. is an obligation that the state simply cannot shrug off its responsibility from. Besides, the citizens of a state have an inalienable right to seek explanation from the government that fails to protect state’s heritage. The items that have gone missing from the Srinagar museum include a manuscript of holy Quran bearing the seal of Emperor Aurangzeb, seated wooden Buddha, standing Tara Bronze, a deity, a brass image of seated Jain Tirthakar, one brass image of Buddha seated in earth touching mudra and one standing Buddha from Nagapatnam. The loss of these items, so priceless and so significant that in a way represent the national treasure should have made the government restless until it retrieved them all. But here the state police have shockingly closed the case as “untraceable” and the state has apparently digested it without any question. The government has perhaps not even given a slight thought to involving premier intelligence agencies at the country-level to trace these articles, a practice it has adopted in many other cases where the police failed to reach any conclusion. Even the government has not given any attention to preservation measures required at the SPS Museum as a result of which many priceless artifacts including paintings, manuscripts and textile gallery have been damaged. As if this was not enough, the state has turned more than magnanimous in that it has loaned hundreds of invaluable paintings, coins and manuscripts of immense historical value to other museums in and outside the state.  This all suggests that Jammu and Kashmir is in dire need of a robust legislative framework for heritage protection. The government need to immediately solicit agencies for the return of artifacts it has loaned to them.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 18 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 19 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST




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