We all are aware of the Kohinoor diamond controversy, the long and unsuccessful efforts of India to bring it back from the British. The controversy got a twist when the All India Human Rights and Social front filed a petition against the High Commissioner of the UK. In April 2017, while hearing the petition, the Supreme Court stated that it cannot direct the United Kingdom on what to do with the Kohinoor diamond. The debate whether India gifted the diamond to the British or they stole it still a topic of debate. Well, Kohinoor is not the only precious Indian treasure that is in the foreign land. There are a couple of Indian sculptures and treasures that are languishing abroad.
Jagdamba – Shivaji Maharaj’s sword
Shivaji possessed three swords – Bhawani, Jagdamba, and Tulja. The sword Jagdamba was gifted to the Prince of Wales Edward VII during his visit to India. The sword is currently adorning Buckingham Palace in London.
Tipu’s Tiger is a mechanical toy made created for Tipu Sultan in the eighteenth century. The wood toy depicts a tiger brutally injuring a European man. When someone turns the handle on the side of the toy, the tiger emits a roaring sound while man wails lifting his arm up and down. The toy was built keeping in mind the hatred Tipu Sultan had for the British of the East India Company. After the East India Company stormed Tipu’s capital in 1799 they moved the toy to Britain to exhibit it in the Tower of London. The toy was first exhibited in 1808 in East India House followed by the East India Company in London and was later transferred to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Ring of Tipu Sultan
After the death of Tipu Sultan in the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War (1798-1799), the battle fought between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company, his ring and sword were taken by the British. In 2004, Vijay Mallya bought it back to India in an auction for Rs 1.57 crore. The ring weighs 41.2 gm and was sold to an undisclosed bidder for 1,45,000 Euros in an auction in central London. The ring has the name of Hindu deity ‘Ram’ inscribed on it in Devanagari script.
The Ambika statue from Dhar is a marble statue of Goddess Ambika discovered in the late nineteenth century. The statue was discovered in 1875 by Major General William Kincaid, a local political agent of the British Raj. The statue is carved from white marble. Few years after its discovery the statue mysteriously got lost and was later found at the British Museum, London in 1886. There has been a huge demand to bring back the statue to the Saraswati temple in Madhya Pradesh.
Royal Jade Wine Cup of Shah Jahan
The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan wine cup dates back to 1067 of the Islamic calendar which is 1657 CE. The cup has inscribed with the title ‘Second Lord of the Conjunction’. The bottom of the cup features acanthus leaves and a lotus flower and is one of the most elegant treasures of the Mughal dynasty. The object was acquired in the 19th century by Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie and was in the possession of RMW Walker. The cup is currently in the possession of Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s Throne
Maharaja Ranjit Singh was the leader of the Sikh Empire in the early half of the 19th century. In the early 1800s, Singh’s throne was made by the goldsmith Hafez Muhammad Multani. The throne is made of wood and resin core and covered with sheets of gold. In 1849, after the second Anglo-Sikh War, the throne was taken by the British and was displayed with other treasures at the great exhibition in 1851. The throne is currently in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The Sultanganj Buddha
The Sultanganj Buddha is a depiction of Siddhartha Gautama and dates back to the 7th century. The metal statue is over two metres tall and weighs around 500 kg. In 1861, British railway engineer EB Harris discovered the statue while working on the Indian Railway in Sultanganj. The statue shipped to Birmingham’s collection in 1864 and now displayed alongside other Asian sculpture in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. The statue has been rechristened the Birmingham Buddha. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is putting their efforts to bring the statue back to India.
The Amaravati Marbles
The Amaravati Marbles also called Amaravati Collection is a series of 120 sculptures and inscriptions from the Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh. The sculptures and inscriptions were discovered in the 1800s on the bank of river Krishna. Soon the artifacts were taken to the British Museum. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) along with UNESCO is taking efforts to bring the marbles back to India as they belong to Amravati Stupa of Andhra Pradesh. The sculptures are also called the Elliot Marbles because of its association with Sir Walter Elliot.