From Exclusivity to Inclusiveness – The New Indian Express


The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya (PMS), one of India’s most modern museums, housed in an iconic building in the Teen Murti complex, is now open to the public. The Sangrahalaya, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, is a tribute to the leadership provided by all prime ministers and their collective nation-building efforts.

In a sense, given its vision and content, the museum suddenly ended the era of exclusivity perpetuated by a long-standing previous regime and introduced the more democratic idea of inclusiveness. However, instead of liking the idea, there are the usual whiners and curmudgeons who are upset that all prime ministers are recognized and honored in this museum. All that can be said of these people is that they are individuals unsuited to the fundamental principles of democracy.

When the idea of ​​such a museum was mooted a few years ago, those who clung to the past and the fraudulent narrative that India owed its independence, democracy and development to one family, raised objections and tried to block the project. Their argument: the Sangrahalaya is built to “dilute” the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru. A visit to PMS today will reveal the fallacy of this argument. The truth is that the Nehru Museum was very poorly maintained when “the family” controlled it. It lacked imagination and there was no commitment to telling the story of Nehru’s contribution in an interesting way. Today, the Nehru section of the PMS is much more informative and educational than it has ever been and it provides valuable insight into the solid foundations that were laid by the country’s first prime minister through the “temples of modern India.

I dare say that in the end, Nehru got his due. In other words, since “the family” perceived the Nehru museum as their domain and maintained it rather badly, the transformation of the Nehru section into the Sangrahalaya will give us a glimpse of how the family ruled the country for several decades and how it should have been executed!

Members of the family ecosystem are the most troubled by their eviction from what they considered their private domain. add one—The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML). One of these family acolytes had the audacity to claim that research at the NMML had deteriorated after 2014 and that a “hideous” building (the Sangrahalaya) was emerging in the Teen complex. Murti.

The Sangrahalaya building is definitely one of the most iconic structures in Delhi with a grand architectural plan executed aesthetically. If this family henchman is ashamed, he should publicly apologize for making such a presumptuous and irresponsible statement about the NMML and the new museum long before it was built.

When it comes to the Sangrahalaya, some things need to be said upfront. First of all, it was Modi who came up with the idea of ​​such a museum to showcase the contributions of all prime ministers. Additionally, as President of the NMML, the Prime Minister had some interactions with the members of the Executive Council on the progress of the project and offered his suggestions on the content of the museum. In these conversations, the PM provided two important mantras. First of all, he said that while building PMS, we have to get rid of “Kalpana Daaridriya(poverty of imagination) from the past, and feel free to experiment with new ideas and innovations. The opening of the Sangrahalaya signals in a sense that the era of Kalpana Daaridriya is finished.

Listening to him and watching the emblematic projects initiated by him, we felt that what separates governance before and after 2014 is indeed the poverty of imagination in the bygone era and the new revival that we see now. The second mantra was “balance”. Modi said it was very important to ensure a balance in assessing events during each prime minister’s tenure.

The museum showcases India’s development since 1947. Currently, the galleries of all prime ministers except Modi’s are ready and open to the public. Visitors get an insight into the youth, political career, political initiatives of each Prime Minister and the challenges they face, regardless of their term in office. This includes PMs like Deve Gowda, Inder Kumar Gujral, Chandra Shekhar and Charan Singh, who served terms of less than a year. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PV Narasimha Rao and Lal Bahadur Shastri received a lot of attention. Likewise, emphasis is placed on the achievements of Morarji Desai and Dr. Manmohan Singh apart from the three prime ministers of the Nehru-Gandhi family.

What is most significant in this list of prime ministers is that of the 14 galleries that have been opened, 13 of them belong to prime ministers who have represented Congress during their tenure or started their political careers. in this party. Vajpayee is the only prime minister who had no association with Congress.

The Prime Minister said at the inauguration of the PMS that there is as much future as there is past in the museum. He was referring not only to the multi-touch and multi-screen experience in each gallery, but also to the Anubhuti section of the museum, which is state-of-the-art and very engaging with holograms, virtual reality and reality. augmented – this allows visitors to get a selfie with one of the country’s 15 prime ministers or a video of a walk with the prime minister. So the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya is not only different, but dramatically. So, on your next visit to Delhi, make sure the Sangrahalaya is at the top of your itinerary.

A Surya Prakash
Fformer president of Prasar Bharati, vice-president of the executive board of the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library and researcher in democracy studies.

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