The Indian government is looking for curators to design and build India’s first museum on the Indian diaspora. Over the centuries, this community has made countries across the world its home.
The museum will try to capture the trials and suffering that generations of Indian emigrants weathered before achieving success in their respective countries. It will also try to portray their role in keeping alive India’s cultural traditions and languages in foreign lands for centuries.
At the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, in Bengaluru on January 9, PM Modi is expected to formally announce the museum.The Indian diaspora numbers 27 million and the number is second only to the 50 million-strong overseas Chinese population.
“The museum shall showcase the historical evolution of the diaspora in various parts of the world. The museum shall also symbolise various achievements of the diaspora based on their aspirations while maintaining their cultural identity and civilisational ethos in and around the world,” said a note on the museum initiative prepared by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The museum will be located in Chanakyapuri, the capital’s diplomatic enclave, at a newly constructed four-storey building called the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra. The Kendra was built as a complex of conference halls, restaurants, a banquet hall, lounges and a library. But now it has been decided to build a museum on the first floor of the building, in a wide and open area, with space dedicated to permanent exhibits and to temporary exhibitions.
Mahatma Gandhi’s journey as an Indian who lived for years abroad will feature prominently in the museum – as will a depiction of the history of migration of Indians over the past two centuries.
The officials also informed that the exhibits will capture the achievements of persons of Indian origin across the world and the experiences of the Indian diaspora in different countries – including those like Fiji and Uganda from where they once had to flee.