Bihar moots Rajghat-style makeover for neglected Prasad memorialOctober 23rd, 2009 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS
By Imran Khan
Patna, Oct 23 (IANS) After being neglected for decades, India’s first president Rajendra Prasad’s memorial in this Bihar capital is finally set for a makeover on the lines of Rajghat - the lush green, landscaped memorial dedicated to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi in New Delhi.
“The memorial to Rajendra Prasad will be developed on the lines of Rajghat jointly by the state government and the central government,” official sources in the chief minister’s office told IANS here Friday.
A high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was held here Thursday to chalk out the Bihar government’s plans for Prasad’s 125th birth anniversary on Dec 3. The aim is to take his ideas across the country and even to the diaspora abroad.
Nitish Kumar wants a memorial that will inspire generations to come, an official said. He would be writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for help to develop the picturesque site on the banks of the Ganges where Prasad was cremated in 1963.
Nitish Kumar had also told a delegation last week that the memorial would be developed on the lines of Rajghat. He also said that no initiative for this had been taken earlier.
Now, the state department of art, culture and youth affairs and tourism has prepared a detailed project report.
“The government is serious about developing the memorial. We have initiated a move to develop it and make it a big tourist attraction,” said state Chief Secretary Anup Mukherjee.
Till a few years ago, the memorial located in the heart of Patna was in shambles. Renovation work started three years ago, but even now it serves as a den for criminals and drug addicts at night - a far cry from Shantivan, dedicated to India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and Rajghat where thousands flock every day.
It is forgotten, barring two days a year - Prasad’s birth anniversary on Dec 3 and his death anniversary Feb 28 - when the governor, chief minister and top officials come calling.
Prasad was born Dec 3, 1884, at Zeradei in Bihar’s Siwan district and died Feb 28, 1963, in Patna. After 12 years as president - from 1950 to 1962 - he retired and was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour. He spent the last months of his life at the Sadaqat Ashram in Patna.
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Tags: anup, bihar government, birth anniversary, chief minister, chief secretary, death anniversary, detailed project, gover, imran khan, jawaharlal nehru, manmohan singh, nation mahatma gandhi, nitish kumar, prime minister jawaharlal, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, rajendra prasad, renovation work, state chief, youth affairs