Sunday 13 October 2019

Chronology of VRK -8



Prof. Kabir's Letter

Minister, Scientific Research and Cultural Affairs, India, New Delhi

September 26, 1963.

Dear Shri Ranade,

I have just received your letter of 25-9-1963 enclosing a copy of what you have recorded after my talk with you. While substantially it is correct, there are some minor mistakes and inaccuracies. Thus what I had told you about the erection of the statue was something like this.

"I had first expressed my opinion regarding the scenic beauty of the spot where the three oceans meet in a different context. It was perhaps two years or more ago that I said that the Gandhi Mandap should not have been on the sands but on the main land. In fact in my view there should be no man-made addition to the rocks."

"Regarding many ancient temples which are protected monuments, the repairs that have been carried out are against our advice. If the State Government of Madras have not always listened to our advice regarding renovation of such temples, why should they do so in the case of the statue alone? Generally I am against white-washing of any old temples."

Similarly, on page 2 what I said was, "Since you were not present you could not reproduce the exact words of Shri Bhaktavatsalam and this is likely to lead to misunderstanding. On your admission, if the Madras Government was favourable to your plan till October, 1962, it meant that they were so in spite of any opinion I may have expressed. They must, therefore have some other reason for refusing the permission."

Finally, on the last page, while I compliment you on your memory, the exact words are somewhat different. The letter I had actually written is as follows :

"Shri Eknath Ranade, Organising Secretary of Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial Committee, came to see me and said that it is his impression that you had refused permission for installing a statue of Vivekananda according to their wishes because of my influence. I am told that you also said that this is a matter entirely for the State Government and you are not bound by any opinion of any Central Minister. This is of course the true position and I do not come into the picture at all. I am only sorry that my name should have been mentioned because this has led to an unfortunate controversy. I will be glad if my name is not brought into this at all."

I am sending a corrected version which, if you wish to publicise it at all, you may use.

With good wishes.

Yours sincerely,

Sd/- Humayun Kabir

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