A delegation of theatre artistes, writers and social activists, led by former Union Minister Pradeep Jain Aditya, staged a protest at the gate of Jhansi Museum to mark the beginning of demonstrations against the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to close the museum.
The protesters, on Wednesday evening, submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister through District Magistrate Jhansi Andra Vamsi.
The protesters have announced to host cultural activities like plays, concerts and ‘nukkad nataks’ in the museum campus on a daily basis as a mark of protest.
Former Union Minister Pradeep Jain Aditya said, “Tourists evaluate the history of a country or city from the articles displayed in its museums. Jhansi has always been on the international tourist map because of the valour of Rani Laxmibai. People come here to see the articles associated with her. The closure of the museum is an attempt to shut out history.”
Terming the government’s decision as a step towards subduing the Bundeli culture, Jain said that he and his team members were even ready to shelve out money from their pockets to pay the salaries of the staff but the district administration should reopen the museum.
Almost the entire staff of the museum has already retired and its deputy director, Asha Pandey, will also retire at the end of this month, he said.
The museum, situated near the historic Jhansi Fort, opened in February 1996 when it was inaugurated by then Governor Motilal Vora.
Its foundation stone was laid by former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi in 1982.
The museum has been fighting for its existence due to a shortage of staff as most of its employees have retired with no new recruitments being made. Of the 16 galleries, 10 have been closed while the remaining six were looked after by the lone staffer who has also now retired”, Aditya said.
Meanwhile, the Jhansi district magistrate said that he was making efforts to get the museum opened at the earliest.