NEW DELHI: The government will undertake a major overhaul of 39 institutions including the Gandhi Smriti and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to introduce modern Indian component, including works of the Modi dispensation, a move termed as "diabolical" by Congress which it will oppose.
The revamp, Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said, will introduce a contemporay component in these entities to make them more purposeful. "We are planning to revamp 39 organisations including Gandhi Smriti, Lalit Kala Akademi and NMML under us to ensure their smooth functioning and make them more purposeful," Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma told PTI.
Asked what changes would be undertaken as part of the revamp, he said, "Apart from ensuring that these institutions carry on with the purpose they were established for, we will also present modern India".
On whether there will be inclusion of the work of current government as part of introducing components relating to modern India, he said,"obviously", but did not give any details.
Congress reacted sharply to the proposed plan for overhaul of important institutions like the Gandhi Smriti and Nehru Museum, calling it "diabolical" and accused the government of "subverting and diluting" their essential spirit and character.
"Devoid of any legacy that comprises of the building of our nation, the RSS and the BJP are playing a diabolical game of rewriting and misappropriating our rich and proud heritage of struggle for Independence," party's chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said in a strongly worded statement.
He noted that the NMML stands testimony to and symbolizes the country's struggle against colonial rule as also India's evolution as a sovereign, democratic and secular nation in the years following Independence.
"Any attempt by the BJP, the RSS and Narendra Modi to diminish and downplay the legacy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of Independent India and one of the greatest sons of the country, is not going to hold water with the people of our country," he said.
Sharma, however, trashed the Congress' charge and said "There is no plan to undermine Nehru or his thoughts. For the Nehru Memorial, we have plans for renovating the building, auditorium and library. We also want to increase the footfall at this place. More research scholars should be able to use the facility."
Asked whether the names of these institutions will be changed as part of the revamp, he said,"No such proposal is under consideration".
Surjewala said the "lame alibi" behind the proposal for revamping these institutions to make them "contemporary and relevant" to present times was self-contradictory.
"Museums are supposed to be about the past and history and not showcases for publicising the ruling dispensation," he said.
Noting that the Nehru Museum has emerged as a centre of excellence in showcasing India's immediate history preceding Independence, he said attempts by "self-serving individuals and organisations to subvert its character are nothing but anti-national exercises".
"The Indian National Congress, as indeed the people of this country, will oppose such moves tooth and nail," he said.