57 years after a priceless hoard of bronze statues was stolen from Bihar, one of them was found and returned to India on Independence Day
On 22 August 1961, almost 57 years to the day, a hoard of 14 priceless bronze statues, excavated from the site of the Buddhist monastery of Nalanda, Bihar, went missing. The statues, each an outstanding work of art, were exemplars of what art historians call the Pala school of art, named after the Buddhist dynasty that ruled much of the modern states of Bihar and West Bengal, as well as what is now Bangladesh, between the 8th and 12th centuries. One of the statues stolen that night was a six-and-a-half-inch bronze of the Buddha seated in the bhumisparsha mudra (earth-touching gesture). Following a remarkable turn of events, on 15 August, it was handed over to the Indian high commissioner to England, Y. K. Sinha, by Scotland Yard.