Lawyer wants Mohenjodaro's 'Dancing Girl' to return to Pakistan from India

The statue was brought to India by Mortimer Wheeler at the behest of the National Arts Council in New Delhi.? Photograph:( Others )

WION Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan Oct 11, 2016, 07.28 AM (IST)

A petition to bring back the iconic 'Dancing Girl' statue back to Lahore Museum was filed on Monday.

The statuette dates back to 2,500 BCE and was excavated from Mohenjodaro, the largest settlement in the Indus Valley, which is one of the oldest civilisations in the world.

The bronze statuette is currently displayed at the National Museum in New Delhi. It was brought to India by Mortimer Wheeler at the behest of the National Arts Council in New Delhi. 

Barrister Javed Iqbal Jaffrey filed a suo motu appeal with the court to direct the Pakistan government to bring it back as it is the property of Lahore Museum. In present day, Mohenjodaro is located in Pakistan's southeast Sindh province. 

In the petition, Jaffery asserts that the statue is a part of Pakistan's rich cultural heritage and that it demands the same historical importance that Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa commands in Europe. 

The National Museum in New Delhi describes the dancing girl as one of the "rarest-artefacts world-over" giving a glimpse into the cultural past of a lost civilisation.

According to the museum, the metal work is indicative that the Indus Valley people knew metallurgy and had knowledge of dance and drama. The 10.5 cm statue depicts a young girl striking a pose with one arm on her hips, an upward sway to her waist and legs bent. Ornaments adorn her arms and neck, but she is devoid of any clothing. She has large eyes, flat nose, curved cheeks and curly hair framing a broad forehead. 

Director general of the Pakistan National Museum of Arts, Jamal Shah, recently hinted that the government was planning to approach UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) to help bring back the statue. "This is important if we want to protect our heritage," added.