The recent campaign of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has come to an end but without any success. There is not even single private antiques registered till date as the deadline given by ASI comes to end today. Goans who are very reserved by nature did not approve of the drive initiated by the ASI right from the beginning.
It may be recalled that the Archaeological Survey of India, (Goa circle) has commenced a 15-day campaign to register antiques in private collections. ASI’s Goa superintendent Izhar Alma Hashmi has said that the registration will help keep a record of the priceless treasures from Goa’s rich and historic past for all future generations.
An antique be it a coin, sculptures of wood, stone, and other materials, manuscripts, art objects like paintings, will have to be registered under Section 14 (3) of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, envisaged preservation and conservation of art objects for better appreciation of India’s cultural heritage.
As per Section 14 (3) of the Act, every person who owns controls or is in possession of any antiquity specified in the notification issued under sub-section (1) will have to register such antiques before the registering officer.
Hashmi stated that registration will help prevent loss and theft of such antiques which are rare and will only add to the rich cultural heritage of the State.
ASI will also hold exhibitions of the privately-owned antiques which will enable owners to showcase their artifacts to the public.
Now, the 15 day period to register these privately owned antiques with the Goa circle of the Archaeological Survey of India comes is knocking at the door, and none of the citizens in the State have come forward to register their antiques some of which surpass 100 years of age.
Hashmi said that no applications have been received till date and given the lack of response, the ASI may extend the deadline for registration of private antiques. “Right now we have not had any discussion about the extension of the deadline. We are waiting to see if anyone comes forward with their private antiques”, Hashmi said.
He further added that depending on the Directorate office (in Delhi), the date would be extended. The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, defines the term ‘antiquity’ as any coin, sculpture, painting, epigraph or other work of art and craftsmanship; any article, object or thing detached from a building or cave; any article, object or thing illustrative of science, arts, crafts, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics in bygone ages or historical interest; or declared by the Central Government, by notification in the official gazette, to be an antiquity, which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years.
The decision to register and document priceless treasures of the state was also being done in order to prevent thefts and trafficking of antiques from Goa.
Many people though agreed that it was a good move on the part of the government, they expressed their reservations in this regard, given the small time frame within which they would have to register their antiques and heirlooms.
While some private homes own a vast amount of priceless artifacts and antiques, some people who own such homes, live abroad, which would make it a herculean task for them to come down and register their vast treasure trove, within a period of 15 days.