George Orwell museum is planned in India

Orwell was born in India and the writer's former home in Motihari will reportedly be converted into a museum.

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    George Orwell is the author of such works as '1984.'
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George Orwell fans will finally have a museum to call their own.

Plans are under way to open the world’s first Orwell museum – not in the United States or Britain but in India, where the writer was born.

The Bihar government is working to restore the dilapidated colonial bungalow where Orwell was born in 1903 in Motihari, India, with plans to convert it into a museum dedicated to the author, Britain’s The Guardian reported.

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Unlike many notable writers and literati, Orwell has no museum celebrating his life and works, in spite of his significant influence on popular culture, noted the paper.

"I am delighted that my father's old house is now under restoration and will be turned into a museum, a museum which will be the only one in the world," Orwell’s son, Richard Blair, told the Guardian. "For many decades the house was allowed to decay, so it's only to be applauded that the Bihar government now sees fit to put money into the project." 

Eric Blair – known by his pen name, George Orwell – was born in the Motihari house near the border between India and Nepal. The property comprised of a three-room house, a few small cottages, and an opium warehouse. Orwell’s father, Richard Blair, worked for the Indian Civil Service supervising poppy growers, whose opium was exported to China. 

Orwell lived in India only until he was a year old; he then moved to Oxfordshire, England, with his mother, Ida Blair. He never visited his birthplace again.

Orwell settled in Britain, where he went on to write a number of books, essays, and commentaries, the most famous of which were the dystopian novel “1984” and the allegorical novel “Animal Farm.” His work is known for its critique of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes.

The museum plans are under way thanks to a campaign launched by Motihari businessman Debapriya Mookherjee, who decided to save the derelict house and convert it into a museum.

Mookherjee’s son, Bishwajeet Mookherjee, made a film, “Orwell!...But Why?” to educate Indians about Orwell.

"The people of Motihari do not realize that even if Orwell was an Englishman, he was anti-imperialist and wrote against colonial exploitation," Bishwajeet Mookherjee told the Guaridan. "I made the film to educate Biharis about Orwell, to tell them that a great writer was born in my hometown. It's only right that we should honor his memory."

Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.

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