NEW DELHI:All is not well between Minister of Culture Mahesh Sharma and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Director Mahesh Rangarajan, the functional head of the autonomous institution under the Union Ministry of Culture.
In the backdrop of Sharma distributing documents on Ranjaranjan’s appointment as NMML Director ‘till his retirement’ on the last leg of the UPA rule and questioning its legality, Ranjarajan put up a statement on the NMML website to prove that he has the backing of the Executive Council duly appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA Government.
The tiff and rift between the two, is clearly based on different world views. Sharma feels that all the 39 institutes, including NMML that come under the Ministry of Culture of which he has independent charge, requires “cultural cleansing”, a thorough revamp to increase young footfalls.
The young Indian must go back from visits to the museums such as NMML, updated on Indian “values” --which he feels primarily springs from three generations cooking in the same kitchen and sharingfood from the same table; in short a culture grooming that does not encourage Western ideas and night life, especially among teenage girls.
And, as far as NMML is concerned the Culture Minister would rather have the institute focus on the present Prime Minister’s foreign visit and Indian triumphs like Mangalyan, not on the past thatevokes little interest outside select academic circles. He said as much.
For Rangaranjan, a scholar of history and environment, the NMML is “house of Nehru’’ that has to showcase and “spread” his “ideas and awareness about freedom struggle and history of modern India’”.
May be too ponderous for the minister’s liking, but the statement uploaded on the NMML website notes that the Director’s (that is Ranjarajan’s) views are not his alone.