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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Past meets present in Parliament

‘‘Beautiful creation. Past and present meet and bring the future. Excellent contribution through this high-tech museum of Parliament,’’...

Written by SANTWANA BHATTACHARYA | New Delhi |
August 15, 2006 1:41:52 am

‘‘Beautiful creation. Past and present meet and bring the future. Excellent contribution through this high-tech museum of Parliament,’’ President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam wrote with flourish in the Visitor’s Book, after inaugurating the Parliament Museum today evening.

These words and the suggestion that the museum be opened for children below 17 to help them ‘‘draw inspiration from our democratic system’’ came as a relief to both the members of the government and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee present. They had kept their fingers crossed.

In a Bengali bhadralok outfit, Chatterjee played the attentive host to Kalam. If the unsigned office-of-profit Bill was on their minds, it did not come in way.

Like schoolkids doing the museum routine on an off-day, they — Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi — sat together in a replica of the Constituent Assembly complete with wax models listening to Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘‘tryst with destiny’’.

It could very well have been a time-machine experience — the ‘‘past and present meet’’ — as President Kalam sat with his arms around Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan.

And, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani made a dash for the seat next to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

Chatterjee, who took the lead in setting up the project, said it was designed by Dr Saroj Ghosh as museum ‘‘events’’ and not ‘‘objects’’.

The consensus on the Women’s Bill may be eluding, but there was agreement on the PM’s suggestion that a section of the Parliament Museum be devoted to women and their contribution in the political arena.

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