NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government has renamed the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society as Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library Society, drawing strong condemnation on Friday from the Congress that termed the dropping of the name of India’s first PM it as ”petty act” and asserted that legacies don’t get erased by renaming buildings.
The BJP also slammed the Congress, saying they are suffering from ”Modiabind” –blind opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. BJP chief J P Nadda also said the Congress’ inability to accept that there are leaders beyond ”one dynasty” is a classic example of ”political indigestion”. The move to rename the Society comes nearly a year after the ‘Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya’ was inaugurated on the premises of the iconic Teen Murti Bhavan, which served as the official residence of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
In a special meeting, presided over by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who is the vice president of the Society, it was decided to change its name, the Culture Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
In his address at the meeting, Singh ”welcomed the proposal for the change in the name”, since in its new form the institution exhibits the contributions of all prime ministers from Jawaharlal Nehru to Narendra Modi and their responses to various challenges, the statement said.
Describing prime minister as an institution and comparing the journey of various prime ministers to the varied colours of a rainbow, Singh emphasised that ”all the colours of a rainbow have to be proportionately represented in order to make it beautiful”.
Thus the resolution has given a new name, respect to all our previous prime ministers and is democratic in content, the statement said.
The Congress termed it an act of ”vengeance” and asserted that legacies don’t get erased by renaming buildings.
Reacting to the development, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said this shows the ”low mentality and dictatorial attitude” of the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as they can never reduce the huge contribution of Nehru, ”the architect of modern India”.
”Those who do not have any history are erasing the history of others. The ill-fated attempt to change the name of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library cannot belittle the personality of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the architect of modern India and fearless guardian of democracy,” Kharge said in a tweet in Hindi.
”This only shows the low mentality and dictatorial attitude of BJP-RSS. The petty thinking of the (Narendra) Modi government cannot reduce the huge contribution of ‘Hind ke Jawahar’ towards India,” he said.
Nehru lived in the Teen Murti Bhavan for more than 16 years until his death on May 27, 1964, and soon after his demise, the house was converted into a memorial to perpetuate his legacy. The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society, an autonomous body, was set up on April 1, 1966, to run the memorial housing a museum and a rich library.
Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said, ”Pettiness & Vengeance, thy name is Modi. For over 59 years NMML has been a global intellectual landmark and treasure house of books & archives. It will henceforth be called Prime Ministers Museum & Society.” ”What won’t Mr. Modi do to distort, disparage and destroy the name & legacy of the architect of the Indian nation-state? A small, small man overburdened by his insecurities is the self-styled Vishwaguru,” Ramesh said.
Congress general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal said the Teen Murti Bhavan is a historic monument where India’s destiny was crafted.
”The architect of India’s post-independence glory was our first PM Jawaharlal Nehru. Erasing his legacy by changing the name of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library is a petty act, which only further diminishes the stature of the current regime,” Venugopal said on Twitter.
”India’s every success is achieved on the foundation of Nehru ji’s vision. India knows that, and removing his name from a museum will not change the revered stature that Nehru ji enjoys in every Indian’s heart,” he said.
Congress MP Manish Tewari also hit out at the government, saying legacies don’t get erased by renaming buildings.
Asked about the issue at a press conference, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said,”You can remove (Jawaharlal Nehru’s) name from the boards but you can’t remove the respect which people of this country have for him.” According to the statement, Nripendra Misra, Chairman of the society’s Executive Council, explained the need for a change in name during the meeting by emphasising that the Prime Ministers’ Museum expresses the nation’s deep commitment to democracy and so the name of the ”institution should reflect its new form”.
”The Executive Council subsequently felt that the name of the institution should reflect the present activities which now also include a Sangrahalaya depicting the collective journey of democracy in Independent India and highlighting the contribution of each prime minister in nation-building,” the ministry said in the statement.
Hitting back at the Congress in a series of tweets, Nadda said,”Classic example of political indigestion — the inability to accept a simple fact that there are leaders beyond one dynasty who have served and built our nation”.
Every prime minister has been given respect in the prime ministers’ museum and the section relating to the first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, has not been altered, he said.
BJP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sudhanshu Trivedi said the museum showcases the contributions and achievements of all the former prime ministers including Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira Gandhi, P V Narasimha Rao, Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh of the Congress.
”I am deliberately taking the name of their own prime ministers. I can understand if they have some bitterness with Narasimha Rao. But, I want to know what is their problem with the achievements of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Manmohan Singh whose terms as prime minister have been showcased in an organised manner,” Trivedi said.
”In their opposition to Prime Minister Modi, they are suffering from ‘Modiabind’. They do not hesitate to even insult their own leaders.” Reacting to the name change, Yashwant Sinha, a former BJP leader and a critic of the Modi dispensation, tweeted ”I have no objection to changing the name of Nehru Centre and library. But I object to the new name.” ”It should have been named as Modi Centre and Library after the greatest PM of India ever,” he said, taking a dig at the BJP.
Source: Press Trust of India