NMML row: Upgradation not dilution, says director

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New Delhi, Aug 27 (IANS) Against the backdrop of intense criticism from Congress leaders including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that government was seeking to “dilute” Jawaharlal Nehru’s legacy by changing the character of the Nehru Memorial Museum Library, its Director on Monday rejected the charge, saying the aim was to “upgrade” the memorial.

“We are upgrading the existing Nehru Memorial Museum Library. There is no motive to dilute Nehru’s legacy. If anything, we are improving it and including more sections that will give more insights into his life to the public,” NMML director Shakti Sinha told IANS.

On a new section recently added on its website, NMML says that it “reflects the democratic system of India” and “has been tasked by the Government of India to set up a New Museum on Prime Ministers of India”.

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In a letter to Modi sent last week, Manmohan Singh had raised concerns over the NDA government’s move to create a museum dedicated to all Prime Ministers of India in the Teen Murti complex.

Asked about the concerns raised by Manmohan Singh, Sinha said the planned upgrade will “focus on all former Prime Ministers”. He, however, said that it will be separate from the NMML.

“These are two things. One is the upgradation of NMML and the other is the setting up of a museum of all former Prime Ministers in the Teen Murti Bhavan,” he said.

The Teen Murti Bhavan was Nehru’s residence for 16 years until his death on May 27, 1964.

Manmohan Singh had also urged Modi to “leave the Teen Murti Complex undisturbed as it is” reminding him that it is “a memorial to our first Prime Minister Pandit Nehru. This way we will be respecting both history and heritage.”

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Manmohan Singh further argued that the NMML “must remain a centre for first-rate scholarship and professional excellence”.

“The museum itself must retain its primary focus on Jawaharlal Nehru and the freedom movement because of his unique role having spent almost 10 years in jail between the early 1920s and mid 1940s.

“No amount of revisionism can obliterate that role and his contributions,” Manmohan Singh wrote.

In this context, Sinha said that even though NMML is not only limited to Nehru in its current form, the upgrade will see a greater representation of all former PMs, including Manmohan Singh.

“We will be doing exhibitions on Indira Gandhi and all other Prime Ministers. Nobody has a problem with it, I don’t know why he (Manmohan Singh) has an issue with it,” added Sinha, who was appointed as the NMML director in September 2016.

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Sinha had served as private secretary and joint secretary to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 1998-99. He was also a director of the RSS-affiliated think-tank India Foundation.

–IANS

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