No mention of Khuda Baksh Library at Delhi Book Fair
New Delhi: Khuda Baksh Library, renowned the world over for rare collection of manuscripts, has found no mention at the ongoing Delhi Book Fair leaving many visitors upset but the organisers have now admitted the "lapse" and expressed regret over the "bibliographic blunder".
The Delhi Book Fair 2013 has chosen `Library and Readership` as the theme for this year`s event and as part of it, has also presented an exhibition on old libraries of India at Pragati Maidan here, but the famed library is "conspicuous by its absence".
"Khuda Baksh Library is conspicuous by its absence here. We have the National Library of Kolkata, Rampur Raza of UP, even the smaller libraries of Bhubaneswar and Hyderabad have been given space at the exhibition, but not so much as even a mention of Khuda Baksh here.
"It s not just a mistake or lapse on part of the organisers it is a bibliographic blunder," said Vipin Jetly, one of the exhibitors, who also pointed out howlers on the panels put up at the exhibition.
Established in the late 19th century by Moulawi Khuda Baksh Khan after inheriting his father`s collection, the Library was opened to the public in Patna in 1891 as the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library.
Declared as an institution of national importance by the government of India in 1969, it houses one of the most biggest and exquisite repository of manuscripts and books, and has been visited by countless dignitaries and scholars from India and abroad, since its inception.
"How can any respectable organisation doing an exhibition on libraries of India forget Khuda Baksh? That shows very poorly on us Indians too, as to how seriously we take a subject matter.
"I mean they have spelt American Library in the title as `Amirican` Library and then Raja Ram Mohan Roy`s name as `Raja Ram mohan Roy`. Clearly it shows no one proofread the panels` content before they went public," Jetley said.
The organisers admitted the lapse and ascribed it to "lack of time and space" but regretted that "it shouldn`t have happened".
"We admit our lapse and we are sorry. It should not have happened, more so when we are talking about libraries and books here where proofreading is so important. Khuda Baksh is a cultural heritage and an icon and it was a lapse on our part that it is not here," President, Federation of Indian Publishers, Sudhir Malhotra said.
"On behalf of the organisers also, I say sorry for the spelling mistakes that have crept in the exhibition but we had time and space constraints," he said.
The Fair is being jointly organised by the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) and the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) and ends on August 31.
Incidentally, the organisers said, they had approached the National Library, the Khuda Baksh Library and other libraries in the country asking for their manuscripts to be displayed at the fair but owing to rules governing movements of manuscripts it could not materialise.
"They did write to us asking for manuscripts and rare books for display at the exhibition. The copies could not be provided to them and we conveyed our regret. I do not know why the Library and its photograph is not included in the display", Director, Khuda Baksh, Imtiaz Ahmad, said in an email reply from Patna.
The libraries mentioned are - Mumbai`s Library of Asiatic Society, Kolkata`s National Library and its predecessors Calcutta Public Library and Imperial Library, Rampur Raza Library, Delhi Public Library, Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library, British Council Library, American Library, Bangalore`s JRD Tata Memorial Library, Bhubaneswar`s Harekrushna Mahtab State Library, and Hyderabad`s National Council of Rural Institutes.
"It`s certainly not about space or time but will power. I still see plenty of space available. Why can`t they do it now? Forgetting Khuda Baksh is a big blunder," Nishant, visitor and a student at Delhi University, said.
Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library better known as just Khuda Baksh has been visited by at least six viceroys, two Prince of Wales, Mahatama Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rabindranath Tagore and four Presidents of India, including A P J Abdul Kalam.
Hailed as the "Bodleian of India", its valuable possessions are more than 21,000 manuscripts, including Tarikh-i-Khandan-i-Timuriyah of Emperor Akbar`s days.
Other treasures include "Shahanshah Nama" of Husaini and "Padshah Namah" of Qazwini written in 17th century giving account of life of Shah Jahan. The library also has a rich collection of about 40 Sanskrit manuscripts written on palm-leaf and some manuscripts in Mithilakshara.