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Not Just Freedom Struggle, Nehru Memorial to Also Focus on Nationalism, Eminent Institutions

If the amendments are approved, this clause will also empower the institution to commission research on not just individuals but 'institutions that have had an impact on society or played a significant role in national affairs'.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:October 5, 2018, 8:51 AM IST
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Not Just Freedom Struggle, Nehru Memorial to Also Focus on Nationalism, Eminent Institutions
Front view of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. (Reuters)
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New Delhi: The import of the proposed changes to the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) may not just be confined to expanding the scope of the memorial to documenting the lives and times of all former prime ministers.

The amendments envisaged in the Memorandum of Association will broaden the objectives of NMML beyond the study of events in the “freedom struggle” leading up to Independence in 1947.

Instead, the NMML will now be a repository of documents related to “nationalism” as well as “political, social and economic developments in Independent India”.

NMML director Shakti Sinha told News18, “The executive council felt that we should make it more encompassing. Nationalism continues after Independence and every freedom fighter was a nationalist.”

The amendments would also expand the scope of work undertaken by the memorial to include “institutions that have had an impact on society” and not just “eminent persons”.

The changes were proposed in the last Annual General Meeting in July 2018. The minutes of the meeting have now been circulated by the memorial and within a fortnight, NMML would like to legally pursue the changes unless members object to the recording of the minutes.

The existing memorandum mandates the memorial to “acquire, maintain and preserve papers of nationalist leaders of Modern India and other eminent Indians who distinguished themselves in any field”.

If the amendments are approved, this clause will also empower the institution to commission research on not just individuals but “institutions that have had an impact on society or played a significant role in national affairs”.

The subjectivity of the changes without clear specifications on the definition of “institutions” leaves room for ideological interpretations.

“We would like to build the museum on the freedom struggle but will not keep it limited to that. We will involve other developments as some members said the freedom struggle would be limiting it… so we need more.” Sinha told News18.

In the last meeting, Congress leaders in the executive council of NMML opposed the idea of a museum dedicated to all prime ministers at the Teen Murti Complex in Delhi.

Former prime minister Manmohan Singh had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking the government to leave NMML “undisturbed”.
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