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Nehru Memorial Row: Is Modi govt’s move, an attempt to erase Nehru’s legacy?

The Nehru Memorial row sparks a question whether Modi govt’s move is an attempt to erase Nehru’s legacy as alleged by Congress. HW News Brings you reactions from across party lines.


In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PM Manmohan Singh has questioned the rationale behind the Centre’s agenda to “change the nature and character” of the historic Teen Murti Complex.

Dr Singh said that former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru “belongs not just to the Congress, but to the entire country” and therefore the Teen Murti complex should be left “undisturbed”.

Invoking former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh, in a letter which was sent last week, stated that under Vajpayee’s six-year tenure as PM, there was no attempt made to change the nature and character of Nehru Memorial Museum & Library and the Teen Murti complex in any way. But sadly, that seems to be part of the current government’s agenda.

Reportedly the centre plans to set up a museum for all prime ministers in the Teen Murti complex, which the Congress alleges is an attempt to “obliterate” Nehru’s legacy. It was reported in July this year that despite opposition from several Congress leaders, the Modi government had decided to go ahead with its plan of turning the Teen Murti complex into a museum for all prime ministers.

The Nehru Memorial row sparks a question whether Modi govt’s move an attempt to erase Nehru’s legacy as alleged by Congress. HW News Brings you reactions from across party lines.


Kumar Ketkar, Rajya Sabha MP:
“It is an outrageous plan, I am totally opposed to it. They are trying to undermine Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. You cannot claim that all the Prime Ministers are equal, it is like saying Abraham Lincoln and  Donald Trump both are presidents of the United States and therefore both can be described in the same manner. Can you describe Trump and Abraham Lincoln or George Washington and Kennedy, the same way to say that Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and all prime ministers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi or for that matter anybody? Pandit Nehru was the first Prime Minister of India and there cannot be two firsts. He was our prime minister for 17 continuous years and prior to that he was in prison for 11 years, was working for the freedom movement since 1915.”
“At that time he did not know that he will be becoming the First Prime Minister of India or maybe alive till that time. He became the Prime Minister in 1947. For 32 years, he was working for the Freedom Movement and of that, about 11 years in Jail and they are talking about the dynasty and other nonsense.  How could they even think of dynasty because there is no fixed date as such of the Independence? So, the man who became the founding Prime Minister, the man who was involved with Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar in making the constitution, the man who was involved in organizing the entire Freedom Movement and the man who defended Subhash Chandra Bose in Red Fort Trial of INA, should be equated with  a person like Narendra Modi; who was never part of the Freedom Movement? Just because he is one of the many Prime Ministers of India? It is outrageous and an attempt to insult and undermine the historic role that Pandit Nehru played.”
Sheshadri Chari, BJP NEC Member:
“No, I don’t think it would be right to say that it is a move to destroy the Nehru legacy. As far as Nehru Memorial and library is concerned it is a well-known fact that what we call Teen Murti Bhavan was initially handed over to the  Motilal Nehru family, but that does not mean that it was given to them as their private property, it was handed over to the government  and that is why it is part of the government institution so  no other government before this particular government had this vision of  making it an institution which will look into the contribution of all the prime ministers.  So instead of limiting  the contribution  and the activities of Nehru library only to one particular Prime Minister what we are actually doing is expanding the basic  structure of the organization and its agenda, which in my opinion is good.”
Tariq Anwar, NCP Spokesperson:
“Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was not just some other party men from Congress.  As PM Manmohan Singh describes him as a national leader and who has contributed immensely to make modern India, nobody can match him. He has contributed immensely to the Freedom movement and if such a personality’s memorial is made into all Prime Ministers’ memorial, I don’t think people of this country will like it.”
Tushar Gandhi, Social Activist:
“It is a very transparent attempt by the current government which spreads vicious campaign of hate against Panditji, this is the main reason because if they really felt that other Prime Ministers are to be memorialized also there were ample ways to do it, they didn’t have to do it in the Teen Murti Bhavan. Teen Murti Bhavan was Panditji’s home, he lived for many years there. That is why it is a significant place for it to be his memorial, same way  Lal Bahadur Shastri’s home was also converted into a memorial and if the government is so bothered about other Prime Ministers it is not as if there aren’t any other space to do so. Teen Murti Bhavan has forever remained as Jawaharlal Nehru’s memorial and his books since it was given to the government of India. The library itself is an important resource and that is the legacy of Panditji and it doesn’t need to be disturbed unless there is a motivated reason to disturb this legacy. Having said that, Pandit ji’s memorials are the IITs, IIMs, AIIMS, BARC and all the other institutions that he created and envisioned. They cannot erase that. No matter how much they try to do so.”

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