Modi Govt Plans to give Bal Bhavan a saffron tint

New Delhi,Rohinee Singh: Is the National Bal Bhavan (NBB), the government-backed institution aimed at children between the ages of 5-16, being tinted a light saffron? It would certainly seem so with some small changes already done and others in the works to reflect the change in government at the Centre.

Moves are afoot to change the Hamara Bharat and Gaurav Gatha sections of the museum in NBB, which is affiliated to the human resource development (HRD) ministry. Plans to revamp the science park are also being discussed and the library has a new collection of books, including the life and theories of former prime minister and BJP leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Swami Vivekananda, regarded as a Hindutiva ideologue by some.

“There was a list of books sent to us, which had these names. Since no reading material on Vajpayee and Vivekananda was available, we decided to introduce them,” said a committee member.

The Hamara Bharat gallery since 1989 had a section depicting the model of a rural Indian village. Now the NBB has received direction to revamp the museum into a modern Indian village concept. “The new theme is somewhere in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of an ideal modern Indian village,” said an official of the HRD ministry. The village story of the museum will now depict pucca houses, concrete roads, street lights, post offices, banks, community toilets and a road and rail connectivity.

The Gaurav Gatha section that takes the visitor on a journey through India’s fighters and social reformers is likely to see some changes too. “While nothing concrete has been finalised, the idea is to expand and introduce reformers and leaders who have remained unsung,” he added, refusing to divulge the names of those who might be featured.

A similar attempt is also being made for the science park. Its upgradation has been pending for long.

Though Ajay Singh of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was NBB chairperson during Murli Manohar Joshi’s tenure as HRD minister, most of its previous chiefs have been Congress appointees.

Now, RSS affiliated organisations like Shiksha Bharti feel a revamp is overdue.

In this financial year, a separate Rs 5 crore fund has been allotted for setting up Bal Bhavan kendras in the northeast states. There are currently only three Bal kendras in Manipur. “The plan is to take these kendras to all the seven states,” said a Sangh functionary.

The NBB, which was set up by first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, provides children a platform to explore their creativity and hosts a range of activities from dance, drama, fine arts and music at a nominal free of rupees 100 per year.