As a controversy to turn the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) into a place to honour all Prime Ministers rages on, the memorial has decided to constitute a fellowship named after former Prime Minister and BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
There will be two positions on offer, which will be specific to the study of individual prime ministers or various aspects of the Prime Minister’s Office. This is in addition to the two existing fellowships, wherein in a scholar becomes an NMML fellow or a senior fellow.
Meanwhile, work is ongoing within the Teen Murti Complex to build a museum for all PMs.
NMML director Shakti Sinha said the newly constituted posts will continue for a period of two years, like the other fellowships, and will be advertised next week. “The NMML presently has 32 fellows. This new fellowship will run for a period of two years like the other fellowships on offer,” he said.
The decision to constitute the fellowship was made by the executive council (EC) of the NMML, which met on Thursday.
According to NMML’s website, the current fellowships have been set up to pursue research in three areas — India: Recent Historical Trends and Developments, India in Transition: Issues and Challenges, and India and the Wider World.
It also notes that preference is given to those applicants who use the archival records of NMML for their research.
The NMML’s EC also decided to open up the V K Krishna Menon papers to all bonafide scholars. Menon, a diplomat and politician, was a close aide to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Post-independence, he served as the High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, he was a representative of India to the United Nations, and later supported the admission of China into the UN.
Sinha told The Indian Express, “Shri Krishna Menon, former Defence Minister and close associate of Pt Nehru, passed away on October 6, 1974, and had bequeathed his personal papers to the nation. The executive council of NMML further decided to have a relook at all closed collections with a view to making them available to scholars. As a public instruction, NMML is committed to serving the academic community by facilitating their research efforts in different ways.”
Sinha said the NMML is also looking into persuading donors to allow opening up other closed collections, such as those of former RAW chief R N Kao, renowned writer Nayantara Sahgal, and former Karnataka Chief Minister K Hanumanthiah.
“We are persuading donors to allow us (to open up papers to scholars),” Sinha said.