We Will Have More Nehru, Not Less, Says Iconic Museum and Library

Jawaharlal Nehru signing the Indian Constitution in 1950. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Jawaharlal Nehru signing the Indian Constitution in 1950. Source: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi: Within a day of Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and Nehru Memorial Museum & Library chairman Lokesh Chandra declaring their intention of diluting the salience of India’s first prime minister in the institution which bears his name, saner counsel seems to have prevailed.

A September 3, 2015 release posted on the NMML website now states that the museum will actually increase the emphasis on Nehru and his times in the museum.

As part of the government’s plans to celebrate the 125th birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, the statement says “there would be a special focus on the governance of India under Jawaharlal Nehru as the first Prime Minister of India, which has been largely left out in the present exhibition.”

The government-constituted National Implementation Committee has recommended plans to modernise the museum and library “keeping in mind the basic objective of the NMML to spread the ideas of Jawaharlal Nehru and awareness about freedom struggle and history of modern India,” the release states. “Teen Murti Bhavan is the house of Nehru the Prime Minister, and the Museum will focus on his years as Prime Minister as he, along with great colleagues, laid the foundations of post-colonial India. It will draw on the rich NMML archives built up over the last fifty years.”

This apparent U-turn may put to rest the controversy triggered by statements Sharma and Chandra made  to the Economic Times on September 2, 2015.

“The museum will be recast as a museum of governance, showcasing contemporary India, including PM Narendra Modi’s campaign for smart cities and the Indian Space Research Organisation’s unmanned flight to Mars,” the paper quoted “people involved in the project” as saying. “Major plans are being drawn up to “revamp” NMML, Culture & Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma told ET.”


On his part, NMML chairman Chandra had said the institution was stuck in the past. “Right now, it is only about the times of Nehru… We have to make the museum relevant to today’s times so that questions on governance in present day are addressed.”

He also said that the NMML should organise more discussions on “present day issues. “Why West Asian scholars have not come here to discuss the perils of ISIS or discuss Modi’s recent visit to the UAE”, he asked.

The NMML statement says the library “will also enhance the intellectual component of governance through national seminars and international conferences, an input that Nehru always considered of high value”.

The statement says the institution’s modernisation plans were approved on June 27, 2015 by the NMML executive council comprising Lokesh Chandra as Chairman, M.J. Akbar as Vice-Chairman and Nitin Desai, Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Surya Prakash as members besides the Director, NMML, Financial Adviser and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Culture.

Sharma and Chandra’s comments had caused a furore with senior leaders of the Congress vociferously criticising their alleged plan. One former Congress minister said the move was “crazy” and “typical of the BJP government”. He further went on to state that having never participated in the freedom struggle, the RSS wanted to rewrite history and change the character of the museum

  • vikas singhal

    History of Teen Murti Bhawan & Nehru Museum & Land Grabber Gandhi Family.

    1) Before independence Teen Murti Bhawan was the official residence of the commander in chief of British Indian Army like the current Rashtrapati Bhawan was the official residence of the Viceroy.

    2) Teen Murti Bhawan was the largest housing building in central Delhi after Rashtrapati Bhawan.

    3) After independence the Teen Murti Bhawan become the official residence of the serving Prime Minister like Viceroy House become the official residence of the serving President.

    4) Nehru lived in the Teen Murti Bhawan during his premiership till his death. Indira Gandhi as daughter of Prime Minister also lived in the Teen Murti Bhawan.

    5) After the death of Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri become the next prime minister of India and according to the rule book should shift to the Teen Murti Bhawan. When authorities inform the Indira Gandhi that she should vacate the Teen Murti Bhawan in next month, she refused and agitated the move.

    6) She wrote a letter to Lal Bahadur Shastri that Teen Murti Bhawan is belongs to Nehru. And said that Shastri is not a leader of Nehru’s stature and he should leave in a small house.

    7) After receiving this letter Shastri refused to shift into Teen Murti Bhawan and live in a ordinary bungalow.

    8) When Shastri was expired, Indira become the next prime minister of India. She wants to anyhow want to control the Teen Murti Bhawan. She converts the Teen Murti Bhawan into Nehru Museum and transfer the control to her family and loyalists.

    9) In 90s when Sonia Gandhi was come in the picture. She creates a Nehru Fund as NGO and got allotment from government a portion of Teen Murti Bhawan as office.

    So this is a small part of history how an official residence of Prime Minister of India becomes the personal asset of Gandhi family.

    For correcting this great fraud, my opinion is that Teen Murti Bhawan should convert into Uprashtrapati Bhawan as the official residence of serving Vice President like President. (Now Prime Minister have the 7 RCR as official residence)…