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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 02.07.2014

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee received the first copy of a coffee-table book titled ‘First Citizen: Pranab Mukherjee in Rashtrapati Bhavan’ today (July 2, 2014) at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan. The book published by The Week magazine was released by Dr. Karan Singh in the presence of the President and Mr. Philip Mathew, Managing Editor, The Week.

Speaking on the occasion, the President complimented Mr. Philip Mathew and his team at The Week for the coffee table book which he said, would be of great interest to the public, especially students of history. He said little is known about the Rashtrapati Bhavan outside its walls. The book’s chronicles unknown yet important aspects of the Presidency. It will be of invaluable assistance in taking to the public information about the history and grandeur of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He said The Week, through its column, ‘First Citizen’, has informed and educated its readers as well as created a wonderful record for posterity.

The President said the Raisina Hill and buildings in and around Rashtrapati Bhavan has been the stage for much of his public life that spans over five decades. Before he assumed office, he had been to Rashtrapati Bhavan several times, either to be sworn in as Minister in different Governments or eight occasions as Finance Minister to brief the President on the Budget before its presentation in Parliament. Yet, it was only after he became a resident of the building that its importance as a seat of history and value as ‘living heritage’ fully struck him.

The President said there are many areas in which different Presidents have chosen to carve out their areas of interest. His focus, among other things, has been to open the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the people of India and return it to its past glory. Over the last two years, comprehensive measures have been initiated for the restoration and preservation of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Two new Museums – "The Stables” and "The Garages” are under construction and the former will be open to the public shortly. All the State rooms, including the historic Durbar Hall and the Guest Wing have been restored and re-opened. Old and rare books have been brought together in the main library and are being restored.

The President said he was delighted The Week has been a fellow traveler with the Rashtrapati Bhavan on this journey of the last two years. The Malayala Manorama Group, with its 125 years of history, represents the best in journalism anywhere in the world and The Week is a true inheritor of this great tradition.

This release issued at 1950 hrs