Post-Independence historians overlooked several aspects, says Modi

Modi in Kolkata
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveils an art installation in Kolkata. He is accompanied by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar | PTI Photo

Several important aspects of India’s history were overlooked by historians who wrote about it after Independence without delving deeply into the subject, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (January 11) during his two-day visit to Kolkata.

Modi said one of the key aspects of nation-building is to preserve the country’s heritage. “We want to show before the world our country’s heritage. We want to make India a hub of heritage tourism. Five iconic museums of the country will be developed to international standard, starting with the Indian Museum in Kolkata,” he said.

The prime minister on Saturday dedicated to the nation four refurbished heritage buildings of the city – the Old Currency Building, the Belvedere House, the Metcalfe House and the Victoria Memorial Hall. Thereafter, he was addressing a programme at the Old Currency Building.

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“It is unfortunate that during the British rule and even after independence, the history that was written overlooked several important chapters,” he said. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore in a writing in 1903 had said India’s history is not that what students study for examinations, Modi said.

“Some people came from outside, killed their own relatives, brothers for the sake of throne… is not our history. This was said by Gurudev himself. He had said in this history, it is not mentioned what the people of the country was doing. Didn’t they have any existence?” he said.

In the evening, the prime minister inaugurated a sound and light show at the iconic Howrah Bridge from the Millenium Park on the banks of the Ganga.

Modi in Kolkata
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the restored ‘Old Currency Building’ in Kolkata | PTI Photo

The 2.5 minute show and sound system is installed at the Millenium Park and is part of a project of the KoPT’s 150th anniversary celebrations. It will replace the existing decorative lighting with 650 power-efficient LED and spotlight fittings for a programmable multi-colour lighting, including a show that will sync with music.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and Union Minister of Shipping (independent charge) Mansukh Mandaviya were also present at the glittering programme organised by the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) at the park, which is situated about 2 km from the bridge.

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The cantilever bridge was built by the British and opened to the people in 1943 in the midst of World War II replacing a pontoon bridge at the same location and linking Kolkata and Howrah. The bridge, considered to be the busiest cantilever bridge in the world, was renamed as Rabindra Setu in 1965. More than 1.15 lakh vehicles from both Kolkata and Howrah ply on it day, besides over five lakh pedestrians from both sides.

After inaugurating the sound and light show, Modi left for Belur Math, the global headquarters of the Ramakrishna Math and Mission by the river route. Meanwhile, Banerjee too returned to participate in the demonstration being held by the Trinamool Chhatra Parishad against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.

(With inputs from agencies)

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