Prime Minister Narendra Modi had begun his latest ‘Mann Ki Baat’ address by sharing the “good news” of an ancient idol stolen from India years ago returning home.
While addressing the nation during the 71st episode of his monthly national, PM Modi announced on November 29 that a very old idol of Devi Annapurna that was stolen from a temple in Kashi, Varanasi, about 100 years ago, is being returned by Canada.
He said: “Every Indian will be proud to know that a very old idol of Devi Annapurna is returning to India from Canada. This idol was stolen from a temple in Varanasi and smuggled out of the country around 100 years ago somewhere around 1913. I express my gratitude to the Government of Canada and to all those for this largeheartedness who made this propitious deed possible.”
The prime minister then said that “just like the idol of Mata Annapurna, a lot of our invaluable heritage has suffered at the hands of international gangs. These gangs sell them at a steep price in the international market”.
The 18th-century idol of Goddess Annapurna was reportedly housed in Canada’s MacKenzie Art Gallery all these years. It was handed over to Ajay Bisaria, India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, by Thomas Chase, the interim president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina.