Canada To Return 18th Century Stolen Goddess Annapurna Idol To India

Canada will return an 18th-century idol of Goddess Annapurna to India which was stolen over 100 years ago. Canada’s MacKenzie Art Gallery housed this idol now. The interim president and vice-chancellor of the University of Regina, Thomas Chase handed this statue to India’s high commissioner to Ottawa, Ajay Bisaria. This statue of the goddess Annapurna – the deity of food according to Hindu mythology – was introduced into the museum’s collection by Mackenzie in 1935. A virtual event took place for this ceremony. Officials from Global Affairs Canada and Canada Border Service Agency also attended this event. According to Hindustan Times, this statue is believed to originate from Varanasi. But Canada’s MacKenzie Art Gallery housed it. In its statement, the Indian High Commission said that the university, which is in the capital city of Canada’s province Saskatchewan, recently discovered that the Annapurna statue may have been bought “under suspicious circumstances and did not conform with current principles of ethical acquisition” and therefore decided to return it. Artist Divya Mehra first realised that the statue might have been illegally brought from Canada. She came across this while going through the collection for her exhibition. It states that Mackenzie might have brought it back from a trip to India in 1913. A stranger might have heard the collector’s wish to have a statue. So he might have stolen it for him for the original shrine by the riverbank of Ganga at Varanasi. The gallery later added the statue to its collection after a request by Norman Mackenzie in 1936.