Dearth of staff and good infrastructural has pushed the intemationally famous Netaji Subash Chandra Museum of Giddepahar near Kurseong town to a woeful condition.
Though Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee approved renovating the house since 2017, all efforts would go in vain owing to lack of the required staff and infrastructure.
After the death of Motimaya Lepcha whose father Kalu Singh Lepcha was very close aide of Subash Chandra Bose during freedom struggle, there are only three staffs including an office-in-charge.
There are no receptionist, night guard, clerical staffs and others essentially required in the museum.
The museum also is in need of research centre, library hall, study centre for hill society languages, tradition and culture.
Ganesh Pradhan, office- in-charge of museum, said the proposal for the appointment of staffs and other requirements has been placed before the Chief Minister during her visit last month.
Pradhan said, “The Chief Minister has taken it positively to solve the problems and asked me to submit the proposal to Indranil Sen, minister for Information and Cultural Affairs and accordingly I have given the list of demands and requirements.”
He also informed that with the support of Chief Minister, a fund of Rs. 20 lakh was sanctioned for the renovation of the museum.
Raj Basu, convenor of Association for Conservation of Tourism, said Kurseong is a very important place as it was the popular place for our freedom fighters so the place should be made into trail for freedom fighters.
Incidentally, the house on Giddepahar bears a rich legacy of not one but two sons of India, namely Sarat Chandra Bose and Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. In 1922, Sarat Chandra Bose had purchased the house from one Rowley Lascelles Ward. In 1925, Deshbandhu Chittaranjan Das, accompanied by his wife Basanti Devi, had spent a day with Bose here.
Between 1933 and 1935, Sarat Chandra Bose had been interned in the house for two years, while Netaji Subash Chandra Bose himself was interned in the house for seven months in 1936. He again spent a few days in the house in October 1937. From this house, Netaji had corresponded with Emilie Schenkl, Rabindranath Tagore and had even penned down his Presidential Address for the Haripura Congress.
In 1996, the department of Higher Education had initiated the process of acquiring the house. Subsequently, the State government acquired the house, renovated it and handed it over to the Netaji Institute for Asian Studies. The house was then converted into Netaji Museum and Centre for Studies in Himalayan Languages, Society and Culture.
This report was originally published in Sikkim Express