By Ranjana Narayan
New Delhi, Nov 6 (IANS) Even as the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) is in the news after the NMML Society was re-constituted with the ousting of prominent Congress leaders, an important facet of the hallowed institution may soon wind up too — holding regular lectures and book launches.
In the midst of the political hullabaloo over the reconstitution of the NMML Society with the removal of Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Jairam Ramesh and Karan Singh as its members, and the inclusion of Home Minister Amit Shah, TV journalist Rajat Sharma and censor board chief Prasoon Joshi, among others, one of the main functions of the institution, set up in 1964, remains ignored.
The NMML has been a much sought after venue for holding lectures and talks on various subjects, including international affairs, and for book launches.
However, with the change in guard, and former IAS officer Shakti Sinha ending his term as NMML Director earlier this month, no fresh effort has been made to continue the legacy of holding meaningful discussions on various topics at the venue, sources told IANS.
Retired IAS officer Raghavendra Singh, who earlier served as Secretary in the Union Culture Ministry, has been appointed the Director of NMML after Sinha’s term ended on October 4. The post is equivalent to that of a Secretary in the Government of India.
According to sources, the lectures and book launches that had been scheduled prior to the ending of Sinha’s term are still continuing.
“There are enough events to last till the end of November, or maybe a little time more. But no new event has been booked so far to ensure continuity after those that are in the pipeline end,” the source told IANS.
Normally, at least 8-10 lectures, talks or book launches would be held at the NMML in a month.
Organising the events was also no easy task and required a lot of coordination and reaching out to the different parties and organisations.
In the current dispensation, the person directly below new Director Raghavendra Singh is said to be the deputy secretary, who is much too junior.
“There is too much of a gap between the top rung and that below him. The junior would think twice before approaching him on such a subject,” the source added.
“After 2014, though the NMML saw a distinct shift towards the right, it was not at the cost of the left or centre-left thinking. All events were welcome, though it gave more space to the right. With the change in guard, one has to see which way it goes,” the source added.
A proposed museum on Prime Ministers is also set to come up at the Teen Murti Estate, the former residence of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru that houses the NMML. It will include exhibits on all Prime Ministers of India.