Modi govt chooses Arnab Goswami as new trustee of NMML

Shiladitya Ray


Modi govt chooses Arnab Goswami as new trustee of NMML

03 Nov 2018: Modi govt chooses Arnab Goswami as new trustee of NMML

The Modi government has appointed journalist Arnab Goswami and three others as trustees of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), replacing four trustees who have been critical of the government's plans to set up a museum for all prime ministers at the Teen Murti complex in Delhi.

The foundation stone for the proposed museum was laid only a few days ago.

Here's more.

Dispute: The dispute surrounding NMML

The appointments come in light of the row surrounding the Modi government's decision to establish a museum for all prime ministers at the Teen Murti complex, which was once the residence of Jawaharlal Nehru.

In August, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to leave the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library "undisturbed".

Justification: The government wants to 'democratize' the NMML

Commenting on Singh's letter, NMML Director Shakti Sinha had that establishing a museum for all prime ministers at the Teen Murti complex would not 'obliterate' Jawaharlal Nehru's legacy.

Sinha further added that the plan to set up a museum for all prime ministers was merely to 'democratize' the NMML.

However, there was internal resistance from some of the NMML Society's members.

Dissent: There had been friction within the NMML Society

The new appointments seek to eliminate this opposition to setting up the new museum.

Earlier in 2016, public intellectual Pratap Bhanu Mehta had resigned from the NMML Society citing "political pressure". He had also questioned Shakti Sinha's candidature as the NMML Director on the grounds of the bureaucrat's credentials.

Mehta had said that Sinha's appointment would undermine the academic credibility of the NMML Society.

New appointees: The new appointees to the NMML Society

Now, the new order by the Culture Ministry, dated October 29, has accepted Mehta's resignation.

It has appointed Goswami, former Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, BJP MP and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, and chairman of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts Ram Bahadur Rai as new trustees of the NMML.

Credentials?: Most of the new appointees are not academicians

The new appointments replace Mehta, economist Nitin Desai, professor Udayan Mishra, and bureaucrat BP Singh.

However, it is not clear on what basis the new appointments have been made.

It is also unclear how the new appointees, most of whom are not academicians, will contribute to the NMML, which has long been engaged in the world of historical scholarship.