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Rajendra Prasad's home may turn museum

Top leaders of India's freedom movement, including Mahatma Gandhi, stayed in this house before independence.

india Updated: Dec 06, 2006 10:39 IST

Forty-three years after he died, India's first president Rajendra Prasad's home in a Bihar village will be converted into a museum, on the lines of Jawaharlal Nehru's ancestral residence Anand Bhavan in Allahabad.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) also plans to include the 105-year-old house in Zeradei village in Siwan district in the list of protected monuments in the state.

"The ASI has initiated moves to convert Rajendra Prasad's ancestral house into a personality museum to provide a platform for youth to learn and get inspired," said PK Mishra, superintendent of ASI's Patna circle. The museum is likely to be ready by next year.

Zeradei is no different from any other village in Bihar, except for the still imposing double storey house with terracotta tiles and wooden beams on a 0.70-acre plot of land. It was in this home of Rajen Babu, as Rajendra Prasad was fondly called, that top leaders of India's freedom movement, including Mahatma Gandhi, stayed in during the tumultuous days before Independence.

Siwan district administration sources said no one lives in the house anymore, except for a caretaker.

The ASI would like to develop this piece of heritage like the Anand Bhavan in Allahabad, the home of India's first prime minister Nehru. "We have consulted Rajendra Babu's family members in this connection and the response was positive," said Mishra.

The ASI has also written to the Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee for photographs, articles written by Rajen Babu and his clothes to display in the museum.

Demand for some recognition for the late president has been mounting.

Last month, a local organisation in Siwan called Lohiya Vichar Manch held a daylong fast to demand that the district be named after Rajendra Prasad.

Rajendra Prasad, who took office on Jan 26, 1950, the day India celebrates Republic Day, was president for 12 years till May 13, 1962. He died the next year.