No plans to rename the Nehru memorial

Mahesh Sharma | PTI

Exclusive interview/Mahesh Sharma, Union culture minister

It is being said that what happened to Mahesh Rangarajan was unfair.

Rangarajan resigned from the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. The executive committee rejected it [his resignation] once. He gave it again. It was accepted. You have to ask him why he resigned.

But, you can ask me what the irregularities in his appointment were. On May 16, 2014, the people of India gave their mandate to the National Democratic Alliance. Four days before the result came, the Election Commission gave an order that the proposal for permanent appointment of Rangarajan be put on hold till the election process was over. However, on May 14, 2014, the government… issued a written order that Rangarajan be appointed as director of NMML on a permanent basis. Note that May 14 was a gazette holiday. It was Buddha Purnima. And the offices, including this one, were shut. This was a big incongruity.

There is an allegation that the RSS wanted him out.

Can somebody ask somebody to resign? Somebody can be terminated. But resignation is by choice.

What exactly are the government’s plans to revamp NMML?

This was decided by the previous government, that changes be brought in at NMML. We did not take that decision. But we continued with it. Definitely, we have no vision to change its name.

But the Congress accused the government of denigrating Jawaharlal Nehru.

Whatever is in the article and memorandum of NMML will be followed word by word. Please note that the mandate of the memorial is to acquire, maintain and preserve papers of Nehru, his family and friends. It is also to acquire, maintain and preserve papers of nationalist leaders. Leaders, not leader…. The freedom movement was not carried out by any one individual or family.

You spoke of irregularities at NMML.

I have received complaints. We will get it examined; if there is something, it would be probed.

You were quoted saying that you wanted to cleanse India’s culture and public discourse.

No, I did not say anything like that.

There is controversy over the government’s plans to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at NMML.

It is in the mandate of NMML that it celebrate all leaders who took part in the freedom movement. The plan to hold the celebrations was taken much in advance, and it was mentioned in the budget. The government of India had declared that the birth centenary of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya would be celebrated. We will celebrate all other leaders, no matter what their political ideology was.

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