ASI Museum Current Affairs - 2019
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The Government of India is planning to establish a National Maritime Heritage Museum at Lothal in Gujarat. The museum will also act as an independent research center for archaeology of boat building, reconstruction of maritime history and materials traded. It will hold display of salvaged materials from shipwreck sites in Indian Ocean waters.
The underwater archaeology involves remains of submerged shipwrecks, ports and records of maritime activity from archaeological excavations. The shipwrecks studies in India were initiated in 1989 in the Sunchi Reef, Goa. According to UNESCO, there are around 3 million undiscovered shipwrecks on the world’s ocean floor.
India has vast potential with its rich maritime history. The archaeological evidence from South East Asia and Persian Gulf say that Indian maritime voyagers ventured into eastern and western seas even before 4000 years ago. Studying about sunken ships will help to fill in gaps in India’s maritime history and trade links with other countries.
Lothal is an ancient city of Indus Valley Civilization. It was discovered in 1954 by the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). The site is important as the irrigation tank of the city was used as a dock in ancient times. Also the city was a part of a major river system (the five rivers flowing through Punjab) on the trade route. The GoI has requested UNESCO to add Lothal into the lists of UNESCO Heritage sites. The requisition is yet to receive approval.
Tags: Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) • ASI Museum • Indus Valley Civilization • Maritime Industry • National Maritime Heritage Museum
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman handed over antique 12th century Bronze Idol of Buddha that was stolen from Archaeological Survey of India’s (ASI) Nalanda site museum in 1961 to Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC) Prahlad Singh Patel in New Delhi.
This ‘stolen’ 12th century Buddha was returned a month before (in August 2019) to the Indian High Commission by the London Metropolitan Police.
The Bronze statue of Buddha is documented as ‘Seated Buddha in Bhumisparsha Mudra’. It is of Ht. 6.5″ and belongs to Circa 12th Century AD. It was amongst the 19 bronze statues that were stolen from ASI Museum at Nalanda in August 1961.
The 12th century Bronze Idol of Buddha seated in the Bhumisparsha Mudra was stolen on 22 August 1961 from Nalanda Museum of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). After a gap of nearly 57 years, in February 2018, the stolen statue had resurfaced at an auction in Masstricht (a city in Netherlands) organized by a London based dealer Rossi & Rossi.
Then on receiving information Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officer in London (UK) contacted ASI, UK Customs and Art & Antique Unit of London Metropolitan Police. ASI also certified and confirmed the findings and provided documentary evidence (FIR which was filed in 1961) that the statue was stolen from Archaeological Museum, Nalanda.
Later on 15 August 2018, Scotland Yard handed over the Buddha statue to Indian High Commissioner to UK, YK Sinha to mark India’s 72nd Independence Day.