National Library building renamed after Shyama Prasad Mookherjee

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Kolkata, Jul 7 (PTI) With the Union Ministry of Culture renaming ‘Bhasha Bhavan’, an important building of the National Library here, after Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the Trinamool Congress and CPI(M) alleged that the BJP government at the Centre is arbitrarily changing names of buildings for their own political gains.

On July 6, the Advisory Board of the National Library decided to rename the 19-year-old ‘Bhasha Bhavan’ located within the National Library compound as ‘Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Bhasha Bhavan’ in the name of the noted barrister, academician and founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, who had served as a Union Minister in Independent India’s first cabinet.

The 123rd birth anniversary of Shyama Prasad Mookherjee was on July 6.

A statement of the National Library said Friday, “Bhasha Bhavan within the National Library of India, Alipore to be renamed as Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Bhasha Bhavan. This was done after the Director, Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation Dr Anirban Ganguly submitted a request to the Union Ministry of Culture to this effect.” “He (Shyama Prasad) had a great contribution to the National Library of India to arrange the donation of his father Sir Ashutosh Mookerjee’s personal collection comprising more than 87,000 books, which are rare and treasure trove for the researchers and bibliophiles.

“The National Library of India, situated at Alipore, Kolkata was shifted from its Belvedere House to Bhasha Bhavan in 2004 and most of the divisions including the administration of the National Library has been functioning from the Bhasha Bhavan,” the statement said.

Commenting on the development, TMC state general secretary and spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “We have high regard for Shyama Prasad Mookerjee. But why pick up an important building in National Library, which is integrated with the heritage of the state and symbolises language movement, for such a renaming exercise. As the matter stands, many landmarks of the state have already been named after Shyama Prasad. Is that not enough?” He added this is nothing but the BJP’s “partisan mindset to arbitrarily rename landmarks,” with scant research and respect to heritage of an institution.

Countering any opposition to the renaming, BJP state unit president Sukanta Majumdar tweeted “Welcome the decision by Ministry of Culture to rename Bhasha Bhavan of National Library Kolkata as Dr Shyama Prasad Mookerjee Bhasha Bhavan. I thank Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi for the decision.” Majumdar said TMC’s opposition to the move only highlighted their cheap mindset as “people of the state and country, know Shyama Prasad’s role and contribution in the history of Bengal.” CPI(M) central committee member and former MLA Sujan Chakraborty said “After renaming Kolkata Port, BJP is now on a renaming spree of several landmarks tagging every name with Shyama Prasad.” National Library Director General Ajay Pratap Singh said, “It was our long cherished desire to pay homage to the brave son of the motherland, who was a true devotee and a patriot.” Singh thanked Union Minister of Culture G Kishan Reddy for effecting the decision. PTI SUS RG.

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