Thieves!

This story is a response to the Challenge posted on Friday Fictioneers, which is a weekly blog link-up led by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at Addicted to Purple. A story inspired by the photo prompt, a beginning, middle and end in just 100 words or below, making every word count. Here goes my attempt, hope you guys like it.

Thieves!

“And this is Vishnu… an Indian god, famous for his lotus eyes.” the guide maneuvered the crowd to a hall lined up with ancient idols and sculptures from India. “This section of our museum is solely devoted to the antiquities from India”.

“Isn’t that an idol? Does it not belong to a Temple in India?” an onlooker asked.

The guide gave the man a hard look and ignored his question, going on to explain the minute details of the sculpture.

“This is an idol stolen from an Indian Temple….!” The person said aloud. “You stole this from my country!”

from-david-stewart
The prompt image

The featured image belongs to  Sam Codrington. Check it out here.

This is an idol placed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Many such idols and sculptures belonging to Indian Temples are smuggled to countries where they find place in either museums or posh households. Idols in Temples are treated as living persons in India and are worshiped day and night, smuggling and showcasing them as mere antiques not only amounts to theft but also grave disregard to Indian culture. Look for #BringOurGodsHome and read more on this, support the restoration of these idols and sculptures to their rightful owners.

13 comments on “Thieves!

  1. It’s a difficult subject. In general I would think most of these museum pieces should be returned now that we live in more enlightened times. However, if all such items only exist in their home country, it becomes more difficult for those from outside to learn about different cultures and faiths and educate themselves. Good story.

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    • There is a different between learning culture and allowing smuggled idols from temples or any religious institution become a show piece. It is no one’s case that u cannot learn about the vatican and its history or art without bringing the artefact from there to a showcase. Just like one wud visit these places to learn about them, they shud do that in case of India. Its an advanced age where 3d views aee possible from ur phone, why allow smuggling of religious items from a country just to fill up ur museum… Right?

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      • Yes, although I think there is something to be said for giving people the chance to see things for themselves. For example – I can look at the Mona Lisa anytime I want on Google, but it does not compare to the real thing at the Louvre. And of course travelling is great, but it is still only a small proportion of the world population that can afford to travel to all the great museums and churches in the world. What would be ideal is if museums and countries could organise reciprocal loans of items that work both ways, allowing items to tour around the world for all, while still belonging to the rightful owners and spending most of their time there.

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      • The problem with your proposal here is that these items are not mere art works, or museum antiques. That is the premise of this piece. These r our deities and belong in temples. Thats why i compared it to the vatican, or a church, or any religious institution that u r visiting. Even the antiques of those institutions belong in there, they r of religious essence and no more mere art. A temple and all its sculptures are one piece, cutting or stealing away any part of it for art /knowledge dispensation is not logical.

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  2. If u can view the Taj Mahal in 3D, why not learn about the Temples and their sculptures that way? Or the best way is come visit and learn. Smuggling of idols from indian temples is a multi-billion criminal racket. Which is encouraged by museums in UK and US mostly. The way Hindus treat their idols is like a person. The idol of Vishnu is Vishnu himself. So he shud be woken up, bathed, decorated, fed, pleased by prayers, and put to sleep. That routine if not followed both the temple and the devotees face loss of faith. The idol loses its powers. Yes… Powers are belived to exist in these idols that bless the one’s in their presence, and the routines followed in temples are in order to sustain these powers. The mantras and shlokas cited have positive energies that manifest themselves in these idols.
    All this is a hurtful story. I hope u read about it more. I am happy the subject drew ur attention. Visit India Pride Project website. They work on this a lot.

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  3. You raise an important issue. In my country, we’re still refusing the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. And our museums are full of artefacts that arguably belong back with the peoples who made them

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  4. I see the theft and refusal to return as passive aggressive behavior at best. The artworks/relics need to be returned to a culture’s rightful owner, especially if they were taken under duress and/or without permission. You’re right, there are ways to view the items online, and if you are still craving to see them, then travel to the home of the item and see it in proper context.

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