18th century library reopens in Aurangabad after 70 years

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 23, 2009 16:40 hrs

An 18th century library, housing manuscripts and a number of precious books including a version of the Quran penned by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, has been reopened after 70 years here at the historical monument Panchakki in Maharashtra.

According to library officials, Hazrat Babashah Musafir, who migrated to Aurangabad in 18th century from Bukhara in Russia, founded the library as well as the Panchakki.

The library treasured about 100,000 books and writing pieces till Indian independence (1947). However, it was closed down in 1970s due to administrative reasons due to which many of the library books were shifted to Hyderabad.

The library presently houses 2,500 books on various subjects related to history, law, medicine, Sufism, religion and philosophy in Arabic, penned by philosophers, saints and scholars in Urdu and Persian languages.

The cover of holy Quran here has a coating of gold on both sides, which has been preserved till date.

Moreover, a holy book written in 1, 283 in four languages is also available at this library.

According to Librarian Hafiz Abdul Jaleel, Baba Shah Musafir founded the library to spread knowledge.

"The library was considered to be the largest one in Asia during that time. Now, it has around 2,500 rare books. After reopening the library, many students especially those who are engaged in research are thronging it. There is no entry fee," Hafiz Abdul Jaleel informed.

People have appreciated the efforts of library's restoration but say that it has a long way to go.

M.A. Haq, a historian in Auranagbad, expressed disappointment that such a library fell victim to colossal neglect for so long.

"This is a great failure, a disaster, that such a grand and important library has been decimated like this. It was one of the best libraries, once. But it is a matter of pride that with the efforts of the (Waqf) Board, the library would come to life," said M.A. Haq, Aurangabad based historian.

Locals feel that if maintained properly, the library would benefit people of all walks of life. By Abdul Hadi (ANI)

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