The ongoing confrontation between Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) executive council chairman Karan Singh and the institution's director Mridula Mukherjee has reached a new low.
Singh wrote to Mukherjee on Monday asking her to cancel all fellowship interviews that were slated for two days later, leaving the selection committee for the interviews -headed by veteran historian Bipan Chandra — fuming.
Singh's letter argues that the director should no longer hold any interviews as her term expires on August 9, 2011, but selection panel members say the committee was appointed by the executive council three years back, and that the sudden cancellation was an "insult" to their integrity.
Historian and selection panel member Shireen Mousvi said, "This sudden cancellation is an adverse reflection on the integrity of members of the selection committee. As we were selected by the NMML executive council three years back, this is also an insult to all members of the EC. We took one round of interviews in December 2008 and the EC approved these fellowships in 2009."
About three years back, 50 scholars had launched a campaign against Mukherjee, claiming NMML had "declined" under her, but her tenure was extended.
Next, Mukherjee was accused of diverting R5crore to a Sonia-Gandhi-led trust, but the culture ministry later gave her a clean chit. When the NMML executive council proposed that any social scientist be allowed to become NMML director — instead of just a historian — Mukherjee dissented, claiming this violated the institution's mandate.