PMs of all political hues to get their due in new museum

New Delhi, Aug 2 (IANS) Narratives running over 90,000 words written after consulting more than 400 books, along with over 1,000 photographs and videos from the archives will be part of the new museum coming up at the iconic Teen Murti Bhavan in the heart of the national capital in memory of all the Prime Ministers the country has seen so far.

A substantial share of the Rs 220 crore project, around Rs 20 crore, is being spent on the renovation of the existing museum dedicated to the life and times of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, said Shakti Sinha, director of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), adding that there will be no discrimination in showcasing the personalities which represented different political ideologies.

Behind the main building of Teen Murti Bhavan, a two-storied complex spread over a 10,000 square metre plot of land, which used to be a sprawling lawn, is being built. The workers are racing ahead to meet the October 2020 deadline when the museum is expected to be thrown open for the public.

"The new museum complex will have three floors and has been designed using state-of-the-art technology. The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is constructing the complex through a private contractor selected on the basis of the results of an international design competition held in 2018.

"There will be no discrimination in showcasing the contributions of any Prime Minister on the basis of his/her political ideology or party affiliations," said Sinha.

The NMML has prepared a narrative on all the Prime Ministers which runs into 93,000 words after consulting 400 books. More than 1,000 photos and videos have been identified from the archives of the photo division, films division, Doordarshan, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

An agency will be short-listed soon to finalise the presentation of the contents on all the former Prime Ministers for showcasing inside the museum complex.

The content will include digital presentations and interactive materials focusing on the lives and works of all the past PMs of India. The actual museum will be spread over an area of 6,000 square metre within the building complex.

"The idea behind the project is to collate all the information about former PMs in one single place. The materials will be a source of infotainment for the visitors and will also help scholars in serious studies. We are aiming to make it as the best museum of its kind in the world. It will have space to accommodate the contributions of future PMs as well," said Sinha.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken about the upcoming museum, which had been conceptualised in 2016, at the launch ceremony of the book "Chandra Shekhar -- The Last Icon of Ideological Politics" in New Delhi on July 24.

"There will be a museum for all the former Prime Ministers who have served our nation. I invite their families to share aspects of the lives of former PMs, be it Charan Singhji, Deve Gowdaji, I.K. Gujralji or Manmohan Singhji," Modi had said.

Teen Murti Bhavan was the residence of Nehru for the last 16 years of his life. Nehru had breathed his last there on 27 May 1964.

"The museum complex in Teen Murti Bhavan, which is dedicated to Nehru alone, will remain as it is. It is spread over an area of 5,000 square metre. The building is old. It has no air conditioning, the photos are faded and the walls have been damaged with seepage.

"Work has already begun to upgrade, change and improve Nehru's museum. In fact, the highest per capita cost to be incurred on any PM in the museum project is being spent on Nehru," said Sinha.

As part of renovating Nehru's museum, NMML has conceived one entire gallery to showcase his writings. Movies and pictures on Nehru's foreign policy, his outlook towards science and technology and his relations with Mahatma Gandhi will also be showcased. Further, as per the design, the entrance to the new museum complex will lead through the museum dedicated exclusively to the first Prime Minister of India.

--IANS

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