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April 22, 2018

Agartala: An attempt to develop Pushpavant palace, which served as the Raj Bhavan till three days back, into a museum and research centre dedicated to Rabindranath Tagore was on Saturday criticised by the royal family and indigenous civil society.

Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma, great-grandson of Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya Bahadur who had built the palace in 1917, has opposed the move and said it would hijack indigenous people “culturally”.

The royal scion said he does not want the palace to be dedicated or named after Tagore or his great grand-father. “The king had named the palace for a reason. I am against renaming of any old monument or palace. Why do we have to change the name of a historical place?” he wrote on his official Facebook page.

Pradyot alleged the previous Left Front government was desperate to erase Tripura’s royal history by changing Kokborok names into Bengali ones and damage royal structures.

Samarjit Bhowmik, the secretary to governor Tathagata Roy, had said on Friday that the palace, which used to be the Raj Bhavan, would be turned into a major tourist spot with a museum dedicated to Tagore.

“This palace will be used as a museum on Rabindranath Tagore. A team of scholars and researchers were engaged to prepare a coffee table book on the palace,” Bhowmik had told the media. He said the structure, which was constructed by Martin and Burn 101 years ago, had housed 16 governors over a period of 46 years since 1972. However, the official added that there is no plan to rename the palace.

Pradyot said such a decision, which will alienate indigenous people of the state, “justifies an indigenous person’s sentiment when he or she asks why shouldn’t they demand Tipraland.”

“If the government wants to build a museum on Tagore, I am willing to give land,” he said.

Anthony Debbarma, convener of the Joint Action Committee of Civil Society, a joint body of NGOs and students’ organisations, demanded that the palace be named after Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya.

Congress leader Tapas Dey said the BJP had promised to set up a “Birendra Kishore Kala Academy. The centre can be developed centering Pushpavant Palace”, he said.

Source: The Telegraph

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