New Delhi: The statuette of Goddess Annapurna, which was stolen over a century ago and transported to Canada, will soon be making its way back to India, to its original home in Varanasi. It is believed that this 18th century idol was stolen by lawyer Norman McKenzie in the early 20th century. The statue had once adorned a temple on the riverbanks of the spiritual capital of India. Also Read - Connecting India: PM Modi Flags Off 8 Trains to Statue of Unity | Check Full List, Routes And Timings Here
After it was stolen, the statue became part of MacKenzie Art Gallery at the University of Regina in Canada. The idol is expected to be returned by mid-December. After its arrival, verification and documentation will be done, following which it will be decided where it will be placed in Varanasi. Also Read - UK Invites PM Modi to Attend G7, Boris Johnson Expected to Visit India 'Ahead Of Summit'
The announcement regarding the bringing back of the idol was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week during Dev Deepawali Mahotsav in Varanasi. “The statuette of the Annapurna deity which was stolen over 100 years ago is now on its way back here. It is a matter of great fortune that Mata Annapurna will come back to her original home.” Also Read - Vaccination Against COVID-19 Begins in India, Bailey Bridge on Jammu-Srinagar Highway Opens After 1 Week: Top Headlines at This Hour
Prime Minister had said that the statues of deities are part of “our priceless legacy.”
“It is true that if so much effort was made earlier, the country would have got back many such idols. But some people have different thinking. For us, heritage means the country’s heritage but for some people, heritage means their name and their family’s name. For us, heritage means our culture, our faith. For them, heritage means their own statues, their family photos,” he had added.
Prior to this, interim president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina, Thomas Chase, had handed over the statue to India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisaria in a virtual repatriation ceremony.