Royal scion opposes Tripura's move to convert palace into museum
(Sourced from PTI)
The Tripura government's decision to develop the century-old "Puspavant Palace" into a museum has come under fire from Manikya Bahadur, state's royal scion and the grandson of last king Bir Bikram Kishore, who termed it as a move to "hijack indigenous heritage". The government has recently announced that the "Puspavant Palace" will be transformed into a museum and research center dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore.
The palace has served as the official residence of 16 state governors since 1972 and Governor Tathagata Roy has recently shifted to a new Raj Bhavan building, which he inaugurated on April 18 at the capital complex.
"I am against the renaming of any old monuments or palaces. It is sad to hear that the government of Tripura will be renaming the Puspavant Palace (governor's house) to Rabindranath Tagore museum," Bahadur said. Samarjit Bhowmik, the secretary of Raj Bhavan, clarified there was no question of changing the name of the palace, but it would be converted into a museum for Tagore.
The royal scion further said, "They're trying to hijack everything culturally. Eventually, they would rename the palace. I want to know why the historical place would be made into a museum. Let it remain as it is." Tagore was a great friend of the Maharajas of Tripura and now the government is unnecessarily trying to drag the bard into the controversy, Bahadur said.
Bahadur equated the present BJP government with erstwhile Left Front rule that tried to convert Ujayanta Palace into a museum. "How's this government different from the previous, which tried to do something similar with Ujayanta Palace. If the government wants to build a museum for Tagore, I'm willing to donate land for it, but remodeling Puspavant Palace is not a good idea," he said.
The Joint Action Committee of Civil Society, an organization of the state's indigenous people, has also issued a statement two days ago to say that it strongly condemns the government's decision to overhaul the royal abode. The palace was built by King Birendra Kishore Manikya in 1917 and his statue should be installed in front of the palace, JACCS general secretary Anthony Debbarma suggested.
Pannalal Roy, who conducted a research on Tagore's relation with the Manikya kings of Tripura, said the bard has visited the state seven times and stayed at the palace in 1925 as the guest of Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur, the last Manikya king.
Tripura was elevated to the status of a full-fledged state in 1972, and since then, the palace, built on 1.76 hectares of land, served as the governor's house. "Puspavant Palace has been identified as a heritage building not only because of its association with royalty, but also because Tagore and other great personalities had stayed here as royal guests," said the Raj Bhavan secretary.