Updated: June 28, 2021 7:12:33 am
The Ministry of Culture Sunday said that a cap belonging to freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose had not gone missing from a display at the Red Fort — as was claimed by some on social media — and had been loaned out along with another two dozen-odd artefacts to the Victoria Memorial in Kolkata.
The rare personal belonging was gifted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the Bose family. In 2019, Modi had himself placed the distinctive triangular cap on a display unit at the Subash Chandra Bose museum while inaugurating it.
The Red Fort reopened recently for the first time after the January 26 farm agitation violence and pandemic-related lockdowns, following which visitors saw a number of empty display boxes.
Sources in the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the custodians of the museum, denied any artefacts were missing. “An exhibition was inaugurated at Victoria Memorial in Kolkata on January 23 this year to commemorate 125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose where these artefacts were displayed. These artefacts were loaned from Red Fort Museum by ASI to Victoria Memorial after following a proper procedure in which a formal MoU was signed between the two organisations. The MoU is valid for six months and further extendable by a year,” one source said.
Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel in a tweet on Sunday night said: “Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s cap and his sword are completely safe. ASI has given 24 items related to Netaji on loan to Victoria Memorial Kolkata. These were given for the exhibition organized on the occasion of 125th birth anniversary of Netaji. Those are being brought back soon.”
Professor Kapil Kumar, Former Professor of History & Director, Centre for Freedom Struggle & Diaspora Studies,IGNOU, who has been the Chief Historian for four Museums at Red Fort, told The Indian Express, “Of the 80-90 artefacts that were displayed at the Netaji museum at Red Fort, more than 20 display boxes were suddenly found empty by visitors this week. There should have been a clear labelling on those units that the display has been moved temporarily.”
The Ministry of Culture said the transfer of exhibits was a regular procedure and all formalities were taken care of. “These artefacts were sent to Kolkata with proper escort and insurance. The loaning and borrowing of antiquities and exhibits are a regular exercise between museums. In this case, both ASI and Victoria Memorial Hall (VMH) are under the administrative control of the Ministry of Culture. During the loan period, ASI inspects the loaned objects. Next inspection of this is planned by ASI Kolkata Circle July 1, 2021, under a Deputy Superintending Archaeologist Chemist.”
Chandra Kumar Bose, the grandnephew of Netaji, expressed displeasure that the late freedom fighter’s cap had been “transferred to another place it was not meant to be at”. He tweeted: “#NetajisCapMissing Bose family had handed over #Netaji’s historic cap to Hon’ble PM-Shri @narendramodi ji to be kept at #RedFort Museum ¬ to be shifted around.Request Narendra Modiji to instruct placing cap in its original place.”
It was on October 21, 2018, that Prime Minister Modi had laid the foundation stone for this museum, to mark the 75th anniversary of Azad Hind Government, formed by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The museum was duly inaugurated by the PM on January 23, 2019, to mark Bose’ 122nd birth anniversary. It was part of the Kranti Mandir complex, a set of four museums. The complex includes Yaad-e-Jallian Museum on Jallianwala Bagh and World War 1, a Museum on 1857- India’s First War of Independence and Drishyakala- a Museum on Indian Art.
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