New Delhi: Claiming that role and repute of NMML has been endangered by "irresponsible" statements from a section of the government, four intellectuals, including former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, on Saturday demanded a public debate before any changes made to the institution.
"These are autonomous institutions and public resources, open to all Indian citizens, and not the property or fief of any political party, government in power, ideological cabal, or department of this or that ministry," the statement issued by Gandhi, film personality Girish Karnad, historian Romila Thapar and research scholar Ananya Vajpeyi said.
They said Teen Murti library's essential task, standing and autonomy must not be "impaired or distorted".
"We fear that the Nehru Memorial Museum & Library's (NMML) role and repute are endangered by the sorts of irresponsible statements emanating from some sections of the government.
"A public debate involving historians, conservationists, educationists, cultural decision-makers and other stakeholders must be had before any changes are authorised to one of our most valued institutions of higher learning," it said.
The library and the museum transcend "differences of Left and Right", the statement said, adding that let there be bigger, better libraries, newer more technologically advanced museums which will be welcomed by all.
In a massive overhaul of cultural entities, the Ministry of Culture has decided to revamp 39 institutions and museums like Gandhi Smriti and NMML here to introduce modern Indian component including the Modi government's works.
"We are planning to revamp 39 organisations including Gandhi Smriti, Lalit Kala Akademi and NMML under us to ensure their smooth functioning and make them more purposeful," Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma had said recently.