A group of academicians and activists have claimed that the “role and repute of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML)” is being endangered due to “irresponsible statements” made by some sections of the government.
They have also called for a public debate before any changes are made to the institution.
Their statement comes after the Ministry of Culture revealed its plan to revamp 39 institutions and museums, such as Gandhi Smriti and NMML, to introduce modern Indian components.
“We are planning to revamp 39 organisations under us — including Gandhi Smriti, Lalit Kala Akademi and NMML — to ensure their smooth functioning and make them more purposeful,” Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma had said.
In a statement, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, film-maker and playwright Girish Karnad, historian Romila Thapar and academic Ananya Vajpeyi strongly opposed such a move.
“These are autonomous institutions and public resources, open to all Indian citizens. They are not the property or fief of any political party, government in power, ideological cabal, or department of this or that ministry,” they said.
They emphasised that the Teen Murti library’s essential task, standing, and authority must not be “impaired or distorted.”
“We fear that the NMML’s role and repute will be endangered by the sort of irresponsible statements emanating from some sections of the government. A public debate involving historians, conservationists, educationists, cultural decision-makers and other stakeholders must be held before any changes are authorised to one of the most valued institutions of higher learning,” the statement said.