National Library to hold permanent exhibition on Netaji

National Library to hold permanent exhibition on Netaji

A view of the Belvedere House at the National Library, where the exhibition will be held. DH PHOTO/Soumya Das

Come December and the people will get a unique glimpse into the life and works of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose at the National Library in Kolkata.

The library has decided to hold a permanent exhibition on Netaji and the Azad Hind government at its premises. The exhibition will also feature several rare exhibits on the lives of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, legendary Bengali novelist Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay and Syama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh.

The exhibition is likely to take place in late December or in the first week of January, National Library authorities said. Nearly 200 exhibits will be put on display in the exhibition, which will be held in the Belvedere House, inside the National Library premises. The building is a heritage structure constructed in the 18th century.

“The Azad Hind government founded by Netaji — the 75th anniversary of which is currently being celebrated — will be a special focus at the exhibition. Rare photographs of the Indian National Army (INA) as well as uniforms will be displayed,” Director General (Additional charge) of National Library Arun Kumar Chakraborty told DH.

He also said that several display boards with key facts and incidents of Netaji’s life will be set up in the exhibition halls. 

As for Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, the exhibits will mainly focus on his iconic Bengali novel Anandamath, set in the background of the Sannyasi Rebellion (rebellion by monks) which took place in the late 18th century. Several copies of manuscripts of the novel along with his other works will be put on display. 

The visitors will also get to see several rare photographs of Rabindranath Tagore during various stages of his life. “The exhibits regarding Tagore will focus on his contribution to nation building,” said Chakraborty. 

According to National Library authorities, the exhibits regarding Syama Prasad Mookerjee will be on his role as an educationist and his contribution to the education system of Independent India. “Mookerjee’s stature as an educationist is not that well known among the younger generation, who mostly know him for his political activities,” said Chakraborty. 

The exhibition will also have a significant amount of digital content aimed at providing information about the lives and works of the concerned luminaries. According to Chakraborty, the digital contents will be “child-friendly.” 

Chakraborty also said that one of the key reasons behind holding the exhibition is to to "boost younger generation’s interest in libraries."

The exhibition will be held in such a manner that visitors will return home with "a renewed interest in the National Library,” said Chakraborty.