New Delhi: As President Pranab Mukherjee completes a year in office on Thursday, he has a busy schedule for the day which includes unveiling of a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi sculpted by a 89-year-old man and launching of a project to digitise rare photographs.
The President, who has made only two foreign visits during the year and travelled extensively within the country, will begin his day by inaugurating "Pranab Mukherjee Public Library" for the residents of the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The library was built in a dilapidated building in the President`s Estate which was scheduled for demolition. However, it was renovated and converted into a library for use by the residents of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Estate and their children, Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson Venu Rajamony said in a statement.
Fully air conditioned, the library will have a rich collection of books, newspapers and magazines for all age groups as well as a special children`s section. Facilities like reading rooms will be provided for young students to prepare for competitive and other examinations, he said.
Another engagement for the residents of President`s estate, which houses nearly 8,000 residents, will be a cricket ground at Dr Rajendra Prasad Sarvodaya Vidyalaya. The stadium, constructed according to latest BCCI guidelines, is aimed at providing better cricket facilities to the students of the school, established in 1949 and which has 60 teachers and 1600 students.
Mukherjee will unveil within the Rashtrapati Bhavan the bronze statue of Gandhi made by Ram Sutar of Maharashtra.
Sutar, who was born in the family of a poor carpenter, is considered a master of stone, marble and bronze sculpturing. He was given Padma Shree in 1999 and his bronze statues of eminent leaders adorn the Parliament, government buildings and other public places.
During the day, Mukherjee will interact with governors across the country through a new video conferencing facility installed in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and host a dinner for the Council of Ministers, the spokesperson said.
A new section of digital initiatives will be inaugurated
by Mukherjee and will be linked to the official website of the President.
A video, "The Presidency: Glimpses of First Year", will be added to the website which will cover important events over the past one year in the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the President`s Estate.
A digital photo library with photographs of the first year of Mukherjee`s presidency is being added to the website.
Later on, the photo library will contain archival photographs of first Governor General after Independence Rajagopalachari and Presidents since 1949. It is intended to help in archival conservation through digitisation of old photographs and will be implemented in a phased manner through a user friendly interface.
A face recognition feature was being added to the search engine of the photo library that will enable searching photographs with a given photo in the database and result in all matched photos.
The photo library when completed is expected to have a database of over three million photographs, Rajamony said.
A catalogue of 1525 old and rare books of Rashtrapati Bhavan is being added to the website for the information of public along with select portions of the audio-visual section of the library.
The oldest book in the library -- "The Original Works of William Hogarth" -- dates back to 1795.
The audio-visual section includes historical speeches, newsreels and documentaries procured from sources like All India Radio and Films Division.
Rare historical speeches like "Tryst with Destiny" and "Death of Mahatma Gandhi" delivered by Jawarharlal Nehru and speeches of Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Mountbatten, C Rajagopalachari, former presidents and other prominent leaders will also be available in this section.
The films include archival material on the history of the freedom movement, events around independence, departure of Lord Mountbatten from India and funeral of Gandhi, the spokesman said.