India's stolen treasures by the British company - 05

Britain is  then and there  dogged by the issue of  colonial-era loot and  its moral obligation to return the symbols of heritage to the colonies  from where they were either acquired or stolen or got as gifts from the rulers.  As far as India is concerned,  it is impossible for them to return all the 25000 Indian artifacts, idols, jewelry, etc., stashed away by the British government  in various museums in London.  

Queen Elizabeth  with all the loots from the former colonies.

Thousands of  unique and rare historical  items impressively on display  in British   museum, Victoria and Albert museum and Pitt museum  are symbolic of British empire's past glory  and dominance; the underlying truth is they were all systematically  looted and plundered by the British as war spoils. A good example is the ones plundered from the palace of Tipu Sultan upon his death in 1799 at Srirangapatna.

Ever since the  British Museum was founded  in 1753, the British diligently had used it  as a den  of stolen goods some thing like Chor  bazaar that one may find in a few Indian cities; an easy way  to stash  away colonial loot. Countless  loots from countries like Ethiopia, Egypt, etc.,  were taken away  by the British colonists under unethical circumstances bordering on immorality.

For the Indian tourists to such British museums  viewing the objects of  veneration  - mostly Hindu or Buddhist gods dating back to centuries   caged in shining  glass cages  is a painful experience. These  holy  objects taken from the temples would  have undergone various  worship rituals associated with the temple and now they have become objects of curios among the  visitors, particularly Europeans.   

The “past is in the past” narrative might seem very tempting to the Brits, but it just doesn’t cut ice any more. Sure, you are not responsible for the actions of your ancestors. Sure, you can’t undo colonial-era oppression. Sure, you can’t reverse the effects of cultural-cleansing, where Britain wiped out the collective memories and cultures of people it oppressed. Sure, there’s no way you could bring back millions of indigenous peoples that gave their lives for freedom.

''To the victor, the spoils may once have been the approach of of imperialists and military adventurers, but it can’t be the  basis on which major international institutions justify thei holdings and collections,” said British historian and former BBC Delhi correspondent Andrew Whitehead. ref:


The following are stolen items from the Indian subcontinent by the greedy east India company officials:

01. Wine Cup of Shah Jahan:

Wine cup  Mogul ruler Shah Jahan's

Wine Cup of Shah

Above image: The wine cup of  Mogul Emperor  Shah Jahan (dating  back to 1657 C)  made of white nephrite jade has a gourd shape like in a paisley design. The handle is shaped like the head of a ram. It depicts the famous Kashmir goat (Capra hircus laniger), known as Changthang, which native to the north in the Indian subcontinent, in present-day Ladakh (Kashmir) and Baltistan, from which the famous cashmere wool is produced (from the dense and soft undercoat which protects against hoarfrost). The length and width of this jade cup is 18.7 and 14 cm respectively

It is said to have been made in the mogul workshops in the seventeenth century.  The lobed, scalloped-shape is very much similar to  sea shells, such as scallops. 

The  cup displays  lotus flower,  acanthus leaves and  goat's  head as handle.  In the 19th century   Colonel Charles Seton Guthrie  acquired  the wine cup  soon after  the 1857 great rebellion and  sent to Britain. It chanded several hands and  since 1962 it has been with  the Victoria and  Albert Museum in London

 The present drinking cup was used  for wine or opium dissolved in wine mixed with spices (known as kawa). This  practice was in vogue during that period practice  and prior to that time by their Timurid ancestors.


02. Huge Buddha metal statue:

Buddha  metal  statue.

Above image:  The sculpture of Sultanganj Buddha is around 2m tall and the weight is around 500 kg. This sculpture of Buddha is one of the huge Indian metal statues. This sculpture was found by E.B.Harris (A British railway engineer) during railway construction in 1862. The current location of this sculpture is the Birmingham museum.


03. Nassak diamond looted from the Hindu temple:   

Nassak diamond

Above image: In the year 1818, in the Anglo-Maratha war, the British East India Company took this diamond and later traded it to British Jewelers. Often called the Eye of an idol  he Nassak Diamond (also known as the Nassak Diamond  and the Eye of an Idol it is a  large diamond weighing 43.38 carats (8.676 g) ; originally it weighed  89 carat, it was adoring the  the eye of the main idol  in   Trimbakeshwar Shiva Temple, near Nashik, Maharashtra.  Mined from the Kollur mines in present Andhra  at least 1500 to 1817,  the British East India Company acquired the diamond during the  the Third Anglo-Maratha War and sold it to British jewelers Rundell and Bridge in 1818. The jeweler  recut the diamond in 1818, after which it made its way into the handle of the 1st Marquess of Westminster's dress sword. present value is roughly


04. Marble Sarasvati's  statue: 

Saraswati statue

Above image:  This  nicely carved   marble statue of the goddess of wisdom Saraswati  in on display in the British museum.  Engraved in the year 1034 Ad this  rare  statue  was part of Bhojshala Temple in the state of Madhya Pradesh from where it was taken. It was reported lost, but was finally found in the  British Museum.  The inscription on the sculpture mentions king Bhoja and Vāgdevī, another name for Sarasvatī. Iconoclasts who studied it suggested that it could be goddess Ambika.   King Bhoja, who ruled between circa 1000 and 1055 was a patron of art.    Hindu scholars are of the view  that  numerous Sanskrit works on philosophy, astronomy, grammar medicine, yoga, architecture and other subjects  were encouraged by King Bhoja, a scholarly person...............................

 Amaravathi, sculptures

A two-sided limestone relief from the Great Shrine at Amaravathi, Andhra Pradesh, carved first in the 1st century BC (featuring the Buddha as an empty throne), and then turned over and carved in the 3rd century AD (featuring a corporal Buddha standing in front of the shrine). Photograph: With kind permission courtesy © The Trustees of the British Museum. As far as the artifacts from Amaravati are concerned, the full credit goes to Col. Walter  Elliot KCSI  of EIC   who painstakingly  had them curated, preserved and brought to light the ancient Buddhist artifacts. So, you can not classify them as loots. 

Stone statue of Nandi (bull, mount of god Shiva)

Above image; A carved granite figure of Nandi at the British Museum is originally from the Deccan circa 1500s AD. Photograph: Kind courtesy Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)/Wikimedia Commons

Shiva and his consort Parvati.

Above image: A granite sculpture of Shiva and his wife Parvati from Odisha circa 1100-1300 at the British Museum. Photograph: Kind courtesy Steve F-E-Cameron/Wikimedia Commons

 bronze idol  dancing Shiva (Nataraja),

Above image: A bronze Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Dance circa 1100 of the Chola dynasty at the British Museum. Photograph: Kind courtesy Brooke Sewell Permanent Fund © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Standing Vishnu as Keshava,
Above image:  Standing Vishnu as Keshava, one of the 24 names for Vishnu, created by Dasoja of Balligrama of the Hoysala period, circa from the first quarter of the 12th century..   Found probably at Belur, Karnataka, and now located at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.    Sri Vishnu with  his consorts, Shridevi and Bhudevi. Photograph: Kind courtesy Rogers Fund, 1918/

sandstone Harihara circa

Above image:  This sandstone Harihara circa 1000 was once situated perhaps in Khajuraho, Madhya Pradesh before it reached Major General Charles Stuart's collection. Photograph: With kind permission courtesy British Museum. representing both Vishnu and Shiva. pdated on Aug 03, 2021, 17:48 IST