George Orwell's Home Gets a Refurb

Posted on June 29, 2005

The home where legendary author Eric Arthur Blair (who became known as George Orwell) was born is being turned into a first-class museum. The house is in the tiny town of Motihari, which is near the border with Nepal. When Orwell was born in 1903, India was a part of the British Empire. Orwell's father, Richard, held a post as an agent in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.

"We are starting the work by next month and hopefully the first phase of renovation will be completed by the end of this year," said Mr Vinay Kumar, the district magistrate of Motihari. The work plan is quite clear - first there will be renovation of the house, then the preservation of the opium shed in the campus, followed by raising a boundary wall around it. "Inside the landscape there will be the museum and the lake," said Mr Kumar, who was here to participate in a symposium on Orwell. The Heritage Foundation of India is working closely with the Bihar authorities to turn the initiative into a success.

"The district administration has assured to help us in all possible ways and we are ready to lend our expertise in restoring a literary heritage," said Mr L.M. Singhvi, chairman of the foundation and former Indian envoy to Britain. "We want the birthplace of Orwell to be a heritage site of international importance. And we are quite optimistic that by the end of 2006 it will become a tourist hub for all foreign tourists visiting India," Mr. Singhvi told IANS.

Author memorabilia will be displayed in the house. The ambitious plan calls for a 10 acre site, with a park, museum and lake. But the highlight of the museum will be the huge replica of "Animal Farm" with dialogue from the book inscribed throughout. We think Orwell would be pleased.

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