With every passing day the controversy over Nehru Memorial Museum & Library is getting more spiced up. First rounds of controversy revolved around NMML being made an All Prime Minister’s Museum rather than just sticking to ‘Chacha Nehru’ and now with dissenters out, government has appointed four new members in the committee.
Talking about the institution, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is known as Teen Murti Bhawan after the three statues established in 1922, in honor of the three Indian princely states Jodhpur, Hyderabad and Mysore after their contribution in World War I. It was designed by Robert Tor Russell who also designed Connaught Place and a few parts of Janpath. Spread over 30 acres, its construction started in 1929 and took around one year of completion. Initially knows as Flagstaff House, it was used by British forces as the residence of the Commander-in-Chief. After Independence, the house was ‘taken over’ as the residence of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964), first Prime Minister of India. After his death in 1964, it was decided that Teen Murti Bhawan should be converted into a museum and a library which would promote original research in modern Indian history with special reference to the Nehruvian era.
Looking at the vault, then Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government in 2000 had decreed that government residences would not be allowed to be converted into memorials. Even Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley following on the same lines announced that no official bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi will any longer be made available for conversion into a memorial to a person.
In 2009, several well-known academics such as Ramachandra Guha, Sumit Sarkar, Nivedita Menon, Nayanjot Lahiri, Mushirul Hasan, Mukul Kesavan, Mahesh Rangarajan and Krishna Kumar, alleged that the institution was being run in an inefficient and corrupt fashion. They pointed out that NMML had discontinued its publication programme, and that the acquisition of manuscripts and oral histories had all but come to a halt. Though in turn, writer and activist Madhu Kishwar, environmentalist Pradeep Kishen and historians Irfan Habib and D. N. Jha came out in support of NMML and its director Mridula Mukherjee.
So, for the ones who are thinking that it is something new and BJP’s stint to create controversy are absolutely mistaken, the talks on this issue have been going on for more than a decade now.
In recent past, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to retain exclusivity of “Teen Murti Bhavan” as first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorial.
Reason to it can be cited in the fact that the incumbent government of Prime Minister Modi wants the Teen Murti Bhavan and the 45 acre vast area surrounding it should be converted into a memorial and museum for all the prime ministers of independent India.
Acting to it, government now has approved the appointment of former foreign secretary S Jaishanker, journalist Arnab Goswami, BJP MP and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and chairman of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Ram Bahadur Rai to the NMML society. The term of the new members, according to a notification issued by the ministry of culture on October 29, will be till April 26, 2020.
The notification also read that the government has accepted the resignation of former member of the society Pratap Bhanu Mehta who has quit, citing “political pressure.”
The amazing part of these appointments are that government has inducted Arnab Goswami in the committee, who is not just ‘quiet’ been but ‘vociferously’ been critical about the Congress party and always posed strong opinions against it. One can say that government has made a statement with this appointment & is not in mood to let go any institution as someone’s ‘fatherly right’.
The dynastic rule that has been there for past many years and decades is something that Arnab Goswami doesn’t give his assertiveness to. Furthermore, how can one forget his interview with Rahul Gandhi, wherein he went on record to say that that he wanted to stop that interview after 5 mins because that man was being “Impossible”.
Here are few glimpses from Arnab Goswami’s shows and you’ll get to know exactly why he lashes out at Congress-
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