On Centre’s go-ahead for memorial for all past PMs, Congress says Modi government ‘erasing’ Nehru legacy

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The Narendra Modi governments go-ahead for the construction of another museum inside the premises of Teen Murti House-situated Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), has drawn staunch opposition from the Congress party which sees it as an attack on the first PMs legacy. The government plans to make the new museum dedicated to the legacy of all the former Prime Ministers. PM Modi floated the idea in 2016. At the 43rd annual general meeting of the NMML on July 26, 21 members supported Modis idea. Last year at the 42nd annual general body meeting of the NMML, the issue was discussed if memorials of other former Prime Ministers of India can be built in the sprawling campus of the Teen Murti House. However, the issue remained inconclusive. The Congress party is now alleging that the Modi government is deliberately moving ahead with such plans and policies which would change the history and would erase the history of the contribution of Congress party. However, the government has assured that the new premises within the Teen Murti complex would not undermine the NMML and its legacy. The Thursday meeting was attended by Congress veterans like Dr Karan Singh, Jairam Ramesh and Mallikarjun. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the meeting. The new museum will include memorabilia of former Prime Ministers starting from Lal Bahadur Shastri. Congress has asserted that any such project should come at any other location, but the government said the new museum is a separate project and it wants to go ahead with complete consensus and government will not disturb the existing museum. The government intends to make the new museum hi-tech with the use of the virtual interface, graphics, videos to create an engaging environment for the visitors. While addressing the meeting last year, Rajnath Singh had said, The planned museum for the former Prime Ministers will be showcased by the NMML Society as an iconic one and will utilise 3D technology to offer a virtual reality experience. However, after the meeting, the government said that a concept note would be circulated to all the members of the NMML and their suggestions will be sought. Earlier in the meeting, Jairam Ramesh said the Congress would need more time to read the concept note. Amid Congress claims of erasing the legacy of Nehru and his contribution for the country, another incident has fuelled a controversy. On July 25, NSUI, Congress student wing, claimed that a photograph of Jawaharlal Nehru was dropped from class X social science textbooks in Goa. According to the claim, Nehrus photo was replaced by RSS co-founder and freedom fighter Vinayak Savarkar. According to an Indian Express report, NSUI state president Ahraz Mulla said Savarkar has been identified as a revolutionary in the book. According to him, the caption with the photograph reads: In 1904, one of the prominent revolutionaries, who had the experience of revolutionary activity in India, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (popularly known as) (Swatantraveer Savarkar) founded Abhinav Bharat to guide the revolutionaries. The state government has sought a report on the issue from the Board of Higher and Secondary Examination. The book earlier carried Nehrus picture at the Sevagram ashram in Maharashtras Vardha, taken in 1935, the report said, adding that the picture also showed Maulana Azad and Mahatma Gandhi. The NMML was founded in 1964 after the death of Nehru. It was the official residence of Indias first Prime Minister. Its archives contain the bulk of Mahatma Gandhi Rajagopalachari, Jayaprakash Narayan, Charan Singh, Sarojini Naidu and Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, among others. The entire site is spread over 45 acres and is a heritage landmark, including the Herbert Baker Building (1928) that houses the museum, the library building (1974) and a 14th-century hunting lodge of Firoz Shah Tughlaq.