Lending of Bangladesh Masterpieces to France sign now

We, the undersigned, demand complete withdrawal of all actions relating to the lending of the priceless masterpieces from the museum collections of Bangladesh to the Guimet Museum, France

1. The items are selected from the Bangladesh National Museum, The Paharpur, Mainamati and Mahasthangarh Museums (under the Department of Archeology), the Varendra Research Museum (under the Department of Archaeology) and the Varendra Research Museum (under the Rajshahi University). The items are to be taken mostly from the display cases and display areas.
2. The items selected are, in fact, masterpieces of Bengal art. All of them are irreplaceable; a few of them are one of a kind. Some pieces have not yet been properly identified, studied or documented.
3. The items cover a period of Bengals history when culture reached an apex where ideals, beliefs, forms and images merged to create purity and perfection. This school of art is well-known as the Eastern Indian School of art.
4. This planned exhibition covers the period when the culture of Bengal was disseminated to a large part of South East Asia. This dissemination was completely peaceable with no violence involved.

1. Cultural Exchange
2. To better the public image of Bangladesh

1. It is completely vague what exactly the people of Bangladesh are to gain from sending the most precious collection of artifacts, which are the creations and proud heritage of the people of this soil, not some accidental gift of nature like gas, oil or coal.
2. There is no financial gain in terms of payment to the government.
3. There is no financial gain from the copyright or sale proceeds that will be gained from the promotional material to be published/sold by the Guimet Museum,
4. There is no plan or mention of an exchange exhibition of any sort, let alone one of such magnitude as is being planned from Bangladesh.
5. The highly tolerant and syncretic past of Bengal will in no way convince the international community that the present day Bangladesh is the same, just as the Indus valley civilization of Pakistan, the Mesopotamian civilization of Iraq and so on, do not reflect in any way on the present day status of the countries.
1. All the 189 pieces of irreplaceable and unique objects are to be sent in one consignment. All things considered, this is in itself a highly irregular step because of the risk factor involved. If, under any circumstances, the consignment is damaged or destroyed, the loss will be inconceivable. Internationally famed experts have expressed their surprise upon the planned mode of transportation and risks involved.
2. Surprisingly, no expert (archaeologists, historians) has been involved on the part of Bangladesh to identify the objects or in the process of selection. As the agreement allows restoration by the Guimet Museum, it is indeed astonishing that we should be so negligent about our heritage as to leave it so unguarded. It is regular practice for experts on the part of the borrower and lender to identify particular details to ensure that the original objects are being returned. No such safeguard has been taken in this case.
3. The Board of Trustees of the National Museum are not comprised of experts or professionals in this field. Therefore, they are in no position to assess the full import of the planned exhibition.
4. The insurance amount (Euro 1,031,750 which is less than Tk. 10 Crore!) is extremely low considering the immensely valuable art objects to be sent. In fact, some items are shown in the list as being of no insurance value. This itself is highly alarming as it shows that no expert opinion was taken in evaluating the priceless masterpieces of Bangladesh. It also reflects the callousness towards the priceless treasures which are to be transported to a foreign land with butler disregard to security and safeguard. Internationally famed scholars have remarked that the entire insurance amount is enough only to cover one of the unique objects.
5. The collection has been taken off display shelves, in some cases dislodged from the museums by breaking the walls to which they were attached. This is not at all a normal procedure.
6. Considering the destruction of Paharpur and Shat Gambuj Masjid in the name of restoration with the financial help of UNESCO naturally worries conscious citizens, After all, our culture and post should be protected and cherished by ourselves. Foreign involvement is perfectly allowable if people in the relevant field of our country are allowed to represent our interests. After all, our past is what has created today and to know and preserve it is our responsibility.
7. Research and scholarship in the fields of Archaeology, History, Art and all other subjects related to the past will be severely hampered by the absence of these objects. Local scholars will have to lay aside their pens for as long as the exhibition lasts and the related time taken for the whole process which may be almost a year.

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Katie RileyBy:
School and EducationIn:
Petition target:
Government of Bangladesh and France


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