Located in the heart of Delhi, just a few miles away from the famous India Gate, the National Museum of Indian History has been the go-to place for national and international history enthusiasts alike. However, sadly the news of its demolition is doing the rounds at present.
It was on August 15, 1949, that the museum was established at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, with its artifacts first exhibited at Burlington House, London. The building that we see now, on Janpath Road, was opened only on December 18, 1960.
The Museum has about two lakh artifacts, a lot of which are part of not just India’s rich cultural heritage, like the famous dancing girl of Harappa, Nataraja in Chola Bronze, relics of Buddha, etc., but the world’s heritage too.
For a person disinterested in history, these may be just another set of ancient artifacts, but for historians and researchers, these are priceless, and how can they be not, being crucial tangible links to our beginnings.
Shocking as it is, the Museum is set to be demolished in March 2024 and a new one (Yug Bharat) is to be set up at the North and South Blocks by the Ministry of Culture, placing the irreplaceable archaeological and historical artifacts that the former houses, at immense risk.
Apparently, the area is being cleared as part of the Central Vista Project of the government, which involves the building of a new People’s Parliament, a Central Vista from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhavan, a new complex for the Vice President and a new house for the Prime Minister.
From a different perspective, all these efforts and initiatives are simply bizarre. Many people are of the opinion that instead of destroying the heritage in this manner and spending lakhs on its demolition, the government should be investing more in the public sector.
The whole effort somehow also falls in line with the government’s idea of overturning the entirety of the British foundation, but they fail to realize the dire consequences of such an act or are simply ignoring it in the name of development.
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