Manmohan Singh wrote to Narendra Modi that the Teen Murti complex should be undisturbed to respect the history and sentiment behind it.
New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has written to PM Modi over allegations of the ruling BJP trying to change the legacy of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. This comes after talks of making changes to the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) and the Teen Murti complex.
The Hindu reported that Manmohan Singh invoked former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, saying that the deceased leader made no attempt to change the nature and character of the NMML and the Teen Murti complex. “But sadly it seems to be part of the agenda of the Government of India now,” Singh wrote in his letter to Modi.
There are reports that PM Modi wants to create a museum for all Prime Ministers in the Teen Murti complex.
In the letter, Singh wrote, "As Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji himself said in his moving speech in the parliament when Panditji passed away: ‘Such a resident may never grace Teen Murti again. That vibrant personality, that attitude of taking even the opposition along, that refined gentlemanliness, that greatness we may not again see in the near future. In spite of a difference of opinion, we have nothing but respect for his great ideals, his integrity, his love for the country and his indomitable courage’.”
Singh wrote that the Teen Murti complex should be undisturbed to respect the history and sentiment behind it. He also wrote, "NMML must remain a centre of 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 ten years in jail between the early 1920s and mid-1940s. No amount of revisionism can obliterate that role and his contributions.”
The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), which had taken the decision at its 43rd annual general meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on July 26, is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture.
A question arises, therefore, whether either the government or the opposition should have a say in the administrative matters of the NMML.
Facts of the matter
It’s a controversy that is not. A government land, so far used exclusively to project the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru, will also be used to promote the legacy of other Prime Ministers of India.
Manmohan Singh's invocation of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, stating that the deceased leader made no attempt to change the nature and character of the NMML and the Teen Murti complex, comes on the backdrop of a government decision to come up with a Prime Ministers' Museum where all Prime Ministers, their major policy decisions and legacies will be showcased to the present generation. Interestingly, even after accommodating all prime ministers of India, it will have 37 years of Congress Prime Ministers that will be reflected in the museum.
Earlier, speaking to MyNation, NMML Director Shakti Sinha had said quite bluntly, “We have been unfair to other Indian Prime Ministers.” He cited Lal Bahadur Shastri, PV Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh who will be displayed alongside Nehru. Interestingly, Manmohan Singh, who wrote the letter of objection, will also find a prominent place by virtue of being a former Prime Minister.
But Singh chose to ignore these facts. He wrote that the Teen Murti complex should be undisturbed to respect the history and sentiment behind it. As Shakti Sinha puts it in his interview with MyNation in July, “To me, at least it is without basis, to allege that any effort is being made to undermine Nehru’s legacy. In fact, the museum will now be a 'Nehru plus' museum. So Nehru and all the other Prime Ministers… A normal viewer can come at one place, know about all of India’s prime ministers. A research scholar can come at one place and know about all of Indian prime ministers.”
Why should Nehru be exclusively projected on prime government land and why, if the government is trying to undo the ‘unfair’ legacy of focussing only on one Prime Minister, should that baffle former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh?
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Last Updated Sep 9, 2018, 10:31 AM IST