NEW DELHI:The process of change has begun. Following the controversy over ‘dilution’ of the character of the Nehru Memorial Museum Library, the Union government on Friday held the first function to mark the slow revamp of the institution. From an institution dedicated to Nehruvian thought, the government kick-started the year-long birth centenary celebrations of RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, senior ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, and Mahesh Sharma enunciated the philosophy of one of the founding fathers of the Jan Sangh, a political precursor to the BJP. Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, whose hard talk against former NMML director Mahesh Rangarajan, a UPA appointee, led to the latter’s resignation, defended the move to celebrate Upadhyaya’s centenary. “To call this saffronisation is indicative of a small mindset. For us, Nehruji is as revered. I think it is fortunate if, as per the objectives of this institution, apart from Nehruji, others who contributed to the freedom struggle or making of modern India also find place here,” he said.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh suggested that all shades of opinion be debated. “In India, there are some people who want to restrict any debate to a few individuals. Our belief is, no matter how many ideologies there are, there can be differences of opinion regarding them, but there should be debate on all ideologies,” Singh stressed. Referring to communist leader Dr MN Roy, he asked, “You teach radical humanism in textbooks, then why can’t integral humanism be discussed?”. Roy had talked about radical humanism, and Upadhyaya of integral humanism. Explaining Upadhyaya’s vision for the uplift of the weak, Singh said one way to help them was by extending them government facilities over a long period, while the second was to make them self-reliant.
Separately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also written a blog on Upadhyaya’s anniversary, saying his government has been working for the poor as suggested by the RSS ideologue.