Nehru Memorial Museum and Library: Arnab Goswami replaces Pratap Bhanu Mehta as Centre appoints 4 new members

The government has appointed Foreign Secretary S Jaishanker, eminent Journalist Arnab Goswami, BJP MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe and Ram Bahadur Rai, the chairman of the Indira Gandhi National Centre of Arts, as the new members to the NMML society.

The Centre is inching towards setting up a museum for all the Prime Ministers of the country at Teen Murthi Estate as it has now removed three members of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) society who had opposed the idea of honouring other Prime Ministers at Teen Murthi Estate.

The decision to remove three members, economist Nitin Desai, professor Udayan Mishra and former bureaucrat BP Singh from the NMML has been taken as the Centre wants to set up “museum for all prime ministers” for which it had also laid the foundation a few days back. Few members of the Nehru memorial society were unhappy about the Narendra Modi government’s decision.

Reportedly, The government has brought in new members to replace the sacked members and has appointed former Foreign Secretary S Jaishanker (replacing Dr B P Singh), eminent Journalist Arnab Goswami (replacing Bhanu Pratap Mehta), BJP MP and President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (replacing Prof. Udayon Misra) and Chairman of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Ram Bahadur Rai (replacing Nitin Desai) to the NMML society. The new members will hold the responsibilities from October 29, 2018, to April 26, 2020, said a notification issued by the Ministry of Culture.

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The official order on the appointment of the new members to NMML

The sacked three members are known to be Nehru loyalists and had been critical of the government’s decision to build any memorial to other Prime Minister at Teen Murthi Estate. Nitin Desai and BP Singh had openly stated their displeasure with the museum for all PMs taking shape in NMML. In September, the Sonia Gandhi led Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund was asked to vacate the Teen Murti Complex. The ministry of housing and urban affairs had stated in its letter that the JNMF is occupying the premises without any authority of law and the NMML needs the space.

BP Singh in the last annual general meeting had expressed his unhappiness over setting up a new museum and said that he had basic problems with the title and the concept of the proposed museum for all Prime Ministers. As per a report in the Economic Times, he had further questioned the intent by saying that there will be a demand in every state to have a Chief Minister’s museum if the Centre builds a museum to honour the Prime Ministers.

Nitin Desai did not agree with the proposed amendments to set up a museum inside the Teen Murti Estate. He also questioned the necessity of such a museum in the campus of the NMML. He said that by bringing in all PMs inside NMML, the memorial was opening itself to unwanted controversies.

The Ministry of Culture notification also says the government has accepted the resignation of one of the former members of the society Pratap Bhanu Mehta who had quit, citing “political pressure”. Arnab Goswami, who replaces him has a Bachelor’s (Hons.) in Sociology from the Hindu College in Delhi University. In 1994 Arnab completed his Master’s in Social Anthropology from St. Antony’s College, in Oxford University. In 2000, Arnab was a Visiting D C Pavate Fellow at the International Studies Department at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University. 

However, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, a member of the NMML society reacted to the Centre’s reforms to the NMML, claimed that the members who have been removed were people with integrity and scholarship.

Arnab Goswami, speaking to OpIndia said that he is extremely proud of being included in the NMML society and he looks forward to working with the other members.


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