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In Indore, the home of the Pravasis who fought for India’s independence, there is a temple.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Indore on Monday for the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention, he will inaugurate a temporary museum highlighting the role of the diaspora to India’s Independence.

Over 3,500 diaspora members from seventy countries are expected to attend the convention, which is being held in person for the first time in four years.

The exhibition, titled ‘Contribution of Diaspora in Indian Freedom Struggle’ and spanning 10,000 square feet, is intended to instil a sense of “nationalism and oneness among those of Indian ancestry”, according to the show’s organisers.

Beginning with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as “the first Pravasi” – who arrived in Bombay on January 9, 1915 after living in South Africa for more than a decade – it commemorates the contributions of 150 such ethnic Indians from 50 nations to the Independence cause, officials claim. The government decided in 2003 to celebrate yearly January 9 as Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to commemorate Gandhi’s return to India.

According to official sources, the list of PIOs whose efforts are being highlighted was compiled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through its overseas missions. In addition to the well-known PIOs such as Mahatma Gandhi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, and Swami Vivekananda, the focus is on lesser-known heroes of the liberation struggle who may not have always resided in India, but whose contribution to the nation must be recognised, according to officials.

There is a section dedicated to Shyamji Krishna Varma of Gujarat, who created the India House and The Indian Sociologist in 1905. India House emerged as a hub for extreme nationalists among Indian students in the United Kingdom.

The display was designed, planned, and executed by the Delhi-based business Tagbin, which has previously collaborated with the government on major projects such as the Pradhan Mantri Sangrahalaya and Netaji’s hologram statue at India Gate.

The founder and chief executive officer of Tagbin, Saurav Bhaik, told The Sunday Express, “The exhibit makes considerable use of technology such as holograms, virtual reality, levitation, and artificial intelligence.” Tagbin was given three months to complete the project.

The first two months were devoted to research and material collection, while the last month was devoted to the actual production of the exhibit, he says, adding that after receiving the names and basic sketches from MEA, the team of researchers contacted the National Archives of India and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library for archival material.

The temporary museum area inside the Brilliant Convention Centre has been divided into sections. The introductory section concentrates on the contributions of figures such as Gandhi, Vivekananda, and Dadabhai Naoroji, the first Indian to be elected to the British Parliament in 1892. Gandhi comes to life as a hologram, in which one of his famous 1931 speeches has been reproduced.

During British administration, many Indians were forced to leave the country in search of a living or to avoid persecution, while others were sent as indentured servants to nations such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, and Guyana. The convention’s Chief Guest and Special Guest of Honor are the Presidents of Guyana and Suriname, respectively.

A portion of the show is also devoted to Bose and Azad Hind Fauj. There is also a section dedicated to Bhikaji Cama, who assisted in India’s freedom movement.

Tagbin was also entrusted with developing up interactive kiosks for visiting NRIs, including a mirror that tells you which legendary Pravasi you resemble and a commitment counter for the Amrit Kaal, according to Bhaik.

In addition, every evening there will be a 20-minute light and sound exhibition on the building’s exterior titled ‘Gauravshaali Bharat: From Ancient India to the G20 Presidency’ in English and Hindi. The temporary museum will eventually become a permanent fixture in the state, according to Bhaik, who adds that places in Indore and Bhopal are now being considered.

During the three-day celebration, a commemorative stamp entitled “Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen” will be issued to highlight the significance of safe, legal, orderly, and skilled migration.

President Droupadi Murmu will present the 2023 Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards on the final day of the event.

As a partner state, Madhya Pradesh has additionally designed tourism offers for visiting NRIs, such as free admission to all state-run archaeological museums, monuments, and national parks; and shuttle service for the Ujjain Mahakal temple to the newly inaugurated Mahakal Lok Corridor.


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