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‘Nehru’ dropped; NMML renamed Prime Ministers’ Memorial Museum & Library

New Delhi: The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society housed in Teen Murti Bhavan premises here has been renamed by the government as Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library Society, prompting sharp reactions from the Congress which termed it as a “petty act”.

The move to rename the Society comes nearly a year after the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya was inaugurated on the premises of the Teen Murti Bhavan, which served as the official residence of first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

In a special meeting of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society (NMML), it was resolved to change its name, the Culture Ministry said on Friday.

MS Education Academy

The meeting was presided over by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is the vice president of the Society, it said.

In his address at the meeting, Singh “welcomed the proposal for change in 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 faced by them, the ministry said in its statement.

Describing prime ministers 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,” it said.

‘Pettiness & Vengeance’, says Congress

The Congress termed it as an act of “vengeance”, asserting that legacies don’t get erased by renaming buildings.

Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said, “Pettiness & Vengeance, thy name is Modi. For over 59 years Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (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.

“I wish those who want to erase Jawahar Lal Nehru’s contribution to freedom struggle & building of Modern India would once read Discovery of India & Glimpses of World History to fathom the depth of Nehru,” he said on Twitter.

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.”

During the Society’s meeting, Chairman, Executive Council, Nripendra Misra explained the need for change in name 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.

Teen Murti Bhavan, which was built in the British era, served as the official residence of the first prime minister of India soon after Independence.

“Pt. Nehru lived here for more than 16 years until his death on May 27, 1964. This building was so familiar with Jawaharlal Nehru’s name that Teen Murti House and Jawaharlal Nehru became more or less synonymous. Therefore, after his death, the government of India decided to convert this house into an appropriate memorial to perpetuate Nehru’s eternal passion for enlarging the frontiers of knowledge and enriching the human mind,” according to the website of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.

It was dedicated to Nehru’s memory on his 75th birthday in 1964 by the then president for housing a museum and a library to encourage, support, and patronise higher learning and free intellectual inquiry.

The government also decided that an autonomous body should be set up to manage the affairs of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library and thus the Society came into existence on April 1, 1966.

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