This will not affect Nehru’s legacy in any way, says museum director

Amid opposition by some members, the government on Thursday decided that a museum for all prime ministers of the country would be constructed in the Teen Murti Bhavan complex that houses the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).

Leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Malikarjun Kharge, however, told The Hindu that a final decision has been deferred owing to strong opposition by some members.

“Our main objection was that they wanted to change the bylaws of the NMML Act. We are opposed to it as this is the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru and associated with the freedom movement. It cannot be destroyed,” Mr. Kharge, who was present in the meeting, said. The decision was taken at the 43rd annual general meeting of the NMML chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

NMML director Shakti Sinha said that of the 21 members, only five opposed the move for another museum and the amendments proposed were passed.

‘Separate entity’

He said the Teen Murti Bhavan complex was spread over 25 acres and the present museum for Jawaharlal Nehru occupied half an acre. The new museum would be constructed at a cost of ₹270 crore.

“The new museum will be separate from the existing structure of the Nehru Memorial. The Home Minister’s wrap up statement was very clear that the objections made by some members have been noted but the NMML society is going ahead with the new museum. This will not affect Mr. Nehru’s legacy in any way,” Mr. Sinha told The Hindu. He said the amendments were brought in to smoothen the process of making the proposed museum part of NMML.

On being asked whether several trees in the complex will have to be cut to make way for the new museum, Mr. Sinha said, “The site is not selected. The architect will select the site and find a solution. I don’t know where this is coming from.”

“The museum would extensively use state-of-the-art technology and effective tools of communication for its content and present an environment of informal space of learning. It seeks to transcend the static, fixed display brick-and-mortar model of museums that is prevalent at present…it should be a one-stop shop for all researchers engaged in studying the institution of the Prime Minister’s Office, or individual Prime Ministers. This would mean placing all relevant books, personal papers, microfilms of newspapers/ journals, photos, videos under one roof,” the agenda note said.

The NMML, as per the Memorandum of Association, is mandated with five tasks and maintenance of a museum of Nehru “personalia, memorabilia’’, and other objects pertaining to his life and the freedom movement is just one of them. The other tasks include acquiring, maintaining and preserving papers of nationalist leaders of modern India and other eminent Indians; establishing and maintaining a library on the history of modern India; and facilitating research in modern Indian history.

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