Prime Minister Naredra Modi on Sunday said that India has brought back over 200 precious idols, which were stolen in the past, from abroad since 2014.
"In the beginning of this month, India has been successful in bringing home an invaluable heritage of hers from Italy. This heritage is the over one thousand years old idol of Avalokiteshvara Padmapani. This idol was stolen a few years ago from Kundalpur temple, Devi Sthan of Gaya ji in Bihar. But after innumerable efforts, India has now got this idol back," he said in the 86th episode of his monthly radio address of 'Mann Ki Baat'.
"Similarly, a few years ago the idol of Lord Anjaneyaar, Hanuman ji was stolen from Vellore in Tamil Nadu. This idol of Hanuman ji was also 600-700 years old. Earlier this month, we retrieved it in Australia; our Mission has received it," he further said.
Prime Minister Modi also said that the history of each of the idols also depicts the influence of their respective times and these are a wonderful artistic example of Indian sculpture; "our faith was also connected with them".
"In the past, many idols were stolen and sold... It is our responsibility towards 'Mother India' to bring home these idols. These idols embody a part of the soul of India. They also have a cultural-historical significance," the Prime Minister asserted.
"Just a few days ago you must have noted that the idol of Ma Annapurna Devi, which was stolen from Kashi, was also brought back. This is an example of the changing global outlook towards India. Till the year 2013, nearly 13 idols had been brought back to India. But, in the last seven years, India has successfully brought back more than 200 precious idols. Many countries such as America, Britain, Holland, France, Canada, Germany, Singapore have understood this sentiment of India and helped us to retrieve these idols," he said.
He further said that when he visited the US in September 2021, he came across a lot of "very old" idols and many artefacts of cultural importance there.
"Whenever any priceless heritage returns to the country, it is naturally a matter of great satisfaction for all of us....as an Indian, as one who has reverence for history and archaeology and the one connected with faith and culture," he added.