New Delhi: The museum dedicated to Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s second prime minister, has seen a big fall in foreign visitors. Most of the visitors are either locals or from neighbouring states. The museum started functions in 2005 and since then, there have been minor additions to the museum like addition to the collection of photographs, etc.
Verinder Bangroo, Regional Director of IGNC (Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts), Ministry of Culture, said: “L.B. Shastri is a ‘personalia museum’ and the relevance of museums is for all times to come and for all sections of people and visiting this museum, one will come to know about this great personality who lived a very simple, sincere and dedicated life for his country. After going through this museum, one can glean from the exhibits the simplicity of this great son of India.”
Kundan Kumar, the curator at Lal Bahadur Shastri museum, said: “We would receive visitors in thousands, there would be many foreign tourists among them. They would come to relish the things that our second prime minister was surrounded with, the things we have here give people a good idea of what the erstwhile PM used to wear, how they would carry themselves, and what accessories they used while serving the country.”
Kumar said: “The pandemic has brought everything to a standstill; this place would be full of people eager to see the museum; they would ask about the exhibits, we would mostly be busy with them in overseeing them and answering their questions, but now visitors are half in number compared to what it used to be before the pandemic. Also, there are very few foreign visitors: before the pandemic we used to receive 60,000 tourists and now the numbers have dropped to less than 27,000.”
Prakash, a visitor from Madya Pradhesh, said: “It is amazing how much of the exhibits they have collected and preserved, it makes us revisit our history or revisit a person who ran a part of our history. It gives us an immense pleasure seeing the things that belonged to one of the honest leaders of our country.”
Subodh Kumar, a worker at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial museum, said: “The alleys we have would normally be filled with people, they would take right and left glances and sometimes persist upon a particular exhibit, and that made this museum lively. It’s the fear of the disease that has made people sit at home and avoid places of gatherings.”