Protection of Indian Heritage & Artefacts

Recent investigation by the Indian Express and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists highlights that the Archaeological Survey of India needs to be equipped with resources to protect objects within its mandate.

The Government is trying to bring the lost heritage and artefacts of the country back and therefore, has also signed agreements with the Museums in the UK, US and Australia to repatriate Indian Antiquities.

Challenges faced to bring back historical artefacts:

  1. The major challenge is to find out the background detail of the objects that have been moved out of India.
  2. There are also large gaps between what have been reported as missing and the number of objects and artefacts that are being found in the foreign museums.
  3. The Law enforcement agencies involved in the process lack the resources. For example: CAG report has brought to the light that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has no vigilance or the monitoring cell that would deter the crimes of theft relating to antiquities.
  4. To attract the best talent/domain experts the ASI will need more autonomy from the Union Ministry of Culture.
  5. Parliamentary Standing Committee Reports on Transport, Tourism and Culture:
  6. 2005: Access to the latest technology: Archaeologists in the ASI are dependent on laboratories in the developed/first world countries for the analysis of pottery.
  7. 2021: Lack of resources in the Museums in India.

Way forward:

  1. Mirdha Committee, 1984: It recommended that the ASI needs to be given the status of a ‘scientific and technical institution’ and to be made more autonomous for better functioning.
  2. The Agencies need to be equipped with latest technologies and adequate resources. For example: Goa’s Advanced Antiquities Management System (AAMS) launched by the state’s Directorate of Archives and Archaeology.
  3. Also, there is a need to bring expertise so as to preserve the antiquities and heritage of India in an ambitious manner.

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