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Looted India: Cost of an Empire

Former British colony reclaims its stolen treasures

Millions of valuable artefacts and cultural treasures were stolen during the British conquest of India and have yet to be returned. Many of these priceless items are still held in British museums with others in private collections and still haven’t made it back home.

Jarat Chopra, a British-Indian man is the descendant of Diwan Mulraj, the ruler of Multan, a kingdom that had been part of the Sikh empire. For him the circumstances surrounding India's stolen treasures during colonial rule, is not an empty sound. Mr Chopra is seeking an opportunity to return his ancestor's sword to India, which was taken as a spoil of war by British officer William Whish in 1849. He believes that only returning the family sword will put to rest the effects of history on his family. After a lengthy and broad search, Jarat Chopra discovered that his family’s treasure is in the Royal Artillery Institute in Britain. However, despite Chopra's efforts, the Institution has refused to return the sword, claiming that it was a spoil of war.

This issue and millions of similar ones has sparked a larger debate about the repatriation of stolen artefacts and cultural treasures, and the responsibility of museums to return items to their countries of origin. Watch the documentary to explore these complex issues and learn more about the ongoing struggle for cultural restitution.