Marvels of the Museum


Shreyashi Dasgupta shares her experience on her recent visit to the Parliament Museum  


The Parliament Museum in New Delhi was set up in the Parliament Library building and was inaugurated by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, on August 14, 2006. The museum displays various facets of our parliamentary democracy, which is also the world's largest democracy.

The museum contains models, storyboards and hi-tech interactive projections. The idea of this museum was conceived by Somnath Chatterjee, former Lok Sabha speaker. The museum was conceptualised, designed and operationalised by renowned museologist Dr Saroj Ghose. It also has a resource centre with a fully computerised textual and visual information bank.


Some of the interesting structures and features in this museum are:
- The journey in the museum begins with a recreated archaeological site depicting self-governing democratic societies that evolved in India through the ages.

- It is followed by a depiction of the Ashokan Period that demonstrates life in that era.

- India is a multi-cultural society, marked by unity in diversity. Another exhibit shows Emperor Akbarʼs Ibadatkhana that depicts how peaceful co-existence in free India's multi-religious and diverse society has drawn inspiration from noble emperors.

- The interesting audio-visual room has a virtual reality exhibit that allows visitors to walk with Mahatma Gandhi in the Dandi March of 1930, during India's freedom struggle. One can also sing patriotic songs during the journey. This could easily be one of the major attractions of this museum.

- A large screen multi-media projection on transfer of power and various artefacts reveal the story of legislative reforms in the country starting from the Charter Act of 1833 and ending with the Indian Independence Act of 1947.

- A model of the Drafting Committee with Dr B R Ambedkar as its Chairman is also exhibited. A depiction of the Constituent Assembly shows its members deliberating on the framing of the constitution.

- The involvement of the people in the democratic process has been shown by recreating a polling station and a vote counting centre and a short video presentation on the electoral process.

- The other half of the museum showcases recreated settings of the Chambers of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. This area also gives the feel of the proceedings of the two Houses through computer generated interactive modules. A recreated Central Hall of Parliament House presents animatronics of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru delivering his historic 'Tryst with Destiny' speech on the midnight of August 14-15, 1947.

- One can also see the State Legislative Assemblies of India and Parliaments of the world through visual projections.

- The Parliament Museum displays the portraits of national leaders in the Central Hall. Also displayed here are artefacts and souvenirs received from various countries that are preserved in archives.