PM Narendra Modi wanted it to be engaging for the younger generation: Saurav Bhaik, the designer of the PM Museum
One of the suggestions of PM Modi was to make it engaging for the younger generation and highlight how different Prime Ministers have risen despite being from humble and regular backgrounds.
As you enter central Delhi, you can’t miss the beautiful display of technology at the newly opened Prime Ministers’ Museum or The Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya, which celebrates all former Prime Ministers. Located on the Teen Murti Estate - Which is India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru’s former residence, it was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 14, 2022.
From taking selfies with their favourite prime minister, to a time machine that has been installed to take you back in time to help them relive the words of every Prime Minister, the museum has many USPs. One could also see the latest technologies such as levitation, robotics, holograms, virtual reality, augmented reality, multi-touch, multimedia, interactive kiosks, etc. Tagbin, the Gurgaon-based design agency, has designed this state-of-the-art display of the achievements of the Prime Ministers over the last 75 years.
This isn’t Tagbin’s first tryst with immersive technology-based museums, but it is one of its most ambitious projects. In an interview with Firstpost, Saurav Bhaik, the CEO, Tagbin, and Design & Technology Consultant of this Sangrahalaya, talks about the idea, execution, and suggestions from PM Modi while designing the museum.
Did you get a chance to meet the PM for the museum and what advice did he give you?
Yes, Pradhanmantri Sangrahalaya was a project closely monitored by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. It was a vision seen by him. Multiple physical meetings were held from time to time to discuss the progress of the museum. We presented new concepts and updates on the museum to him.
One of the greatest pieces of advice he gave us was to strike a balance in content and look at the life and works of all the Prime Ministers through their achievements and the impacts that their contributions made to the nation and not merely by their tenures of office. One of his suggestions was to make it engaging for the younger generation and highlight how different Prime Ministers have risen despite being from humble and regular backgrounds so it can become an inspiration for the younger generation.
To attain this, we refined the content and re-layout our spaces to incorporate all significant events and achievements of each Prime Minister. The museum now consists of galleries based on the size of their leadership and not by the size of their tenures.
The museum is the perfect amalgamation of history, art, and technology- would you like to tell us how the content is planned and displayed and how was this conceptualized?
We wanted to make it relevant for everyone - there can be a visitor at the age of 10 who would be more interested in gaming and learning while another could be one seriously studying for UPSC. We wanted to make content interesting for everybody.
We managed to have a fine balance of audiovisual content, personal objects, and interactive content. In the reception - which is the first impression of any visitor - we intended to make something out of the box by combining art and technology in it. We took national symbols like flags and Emblem and thought about how technology can make them unique.
A museum is a place where you preserve knowledge for the future generation. India being a 5000-year-old country, we have enough to preserve and tell. The only problem here is that currently, it is not interesting - the way it is currently presented is not relevant to the younger generation. To make it relevant for them, we are bringing a shift in museum design by bringing the visitor to the center of the museum. Where it revolves around the visitor, rather than them being a mute spectator. There is a lot of interactivity where he can also become a part of that. For example, in India 2047, he can give a suggestion and it can become part of the policy or sit with a prime minister or relive the experience of Pokhran. We are making it more engaging and immersive, making the museum more relevant for visitors while giving the exact information we want to give.
How big is the museum and what was the budget?
The total area of the museum is around 1 Lakh sq. ft. The overall cost of the Museum Building Complex including the display and technological interfaces and digitization of the collection is about Rs.306 Crores.
In the age and time when the significance of museums is losing its charm, how do you think the new digital India is going to revive that?
We believe the museums are the best and the only places where one can preserve art, heritage, culture, and history together for future generations and hold the power to disseminate the information to the masses in the most unique ways. Earlier museums had ordinary and traditional mediums of displays with non-interactive and simple representations of the content.
Tagbin, as design & technology consultant, holds the vision to bring in and evolve the Museum Culture in India with new-age technologies and state-of-the-art exhibits and showcases. With tech installations making the content interesting and experiential, digital India will soon see a shift in the museum industry and the museum visitors coming to explore more and more.
You have also contributed to the 75th Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav social media campaign in which many of the people have participated from PAN India and recited the National Anthem and put it on their social media- please elaborate on the highlights.
Yes, the campaign is called Rashtragaan. This was conceptualized and executed by Tagbin and was released in July last year. The idea was to unite and encourage citizens to come together to sing the National Anthem. We designed and developed a portal in 12 languages named Rashtragaan in which participants registered and recorded their videos singing the National Anthem.
The videos were then collected and synchronized to amalgamate into one large video with masses collectively reciting the National Anthem. With 2 Crore entries coming in from 218 countries within 15 days of release, this campaign was a huge success. The portal is live till Aug 2022 and we’re still receiving an incredible response with over 10 Lakh entries coming in each day.
Talk about the app that you have prepared in which you can pay tribute to martyrs and will display at Central Park in CP through a digital jyoti?
The campaign named Digital Jyot was launched this year in March. It is an initiative to pay tributes to our martyrs by lighting a digital flame in the sky. An LED Screen and digital flame surrounded by dandelion lights are set up at Central Park in Connaught Place. These lights signify the dandelion flowers, a symbol of growth and hope. The digital flame in the center lights up in the sky each time a tribute is paid.
As a user pays the tribute, their name and the message flash on the LED Screen, and a ray of light is lit up in the sky through a digital flame to mark the tribute. Users can also receive the recorded video of their tribute via mail. Around 8 lakh tributes have been paid so far and over 5 lakh tributes are in the queue.
You have also fixed the hologram statue of Subhash Chandra bose- how difficult is it to restructure something once again?
The hologram Statue of Subhash Chandra Bose was unveiled at India Gate with an event marking his 125th Birth Anniversary. The hologram is planned to be set up there till the actual physical statue is installed.
Setting up the hologram has been challenging for various reasons. Firstly the hologram is 22ft tall and 20ft from the ground level, and thus, needs extra personnel and care to set up the screen at such height. Next, due to the strong Weather Conditions , it is difficult to keep the hologram withstand the rain and winds. Many times since the launch, the screen has come off torn due to the high winds. We then have a contingency team in action to re-setup the hologram with a new screen in the least time. For Immediate actions, we are also monitoring the statute 24/7.
It has been challenging but the phenomenal response and feedback of the citizens are what keep us on our toes.
With so many digital inventions, can we say that culturally too India will go digital soon?
Yes definitely. The gen z and younger generation are more interested in consuming cultural content with tech. With the rise of smartphones and digitization, we feel technology will become an enabler to make people more culturally aware.
He said that there was an excellent warmth between the leaders during the summit and they all had productive & meaningful discussions that were marked by a cooperative & constructive agenda and a very positive approach to the discussions
The prime minister said that he paid homage to all those who were a part of the events of 1857 for their outstanding courage
Overwhelmed by the reception, the prime minister made an Instagram reel video that shows him interacting with Indians at the airport