Khuda Bakhsh Library in Patna gets director after five years

After almost five years of procrastination, Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library (KBPL), an Institution of National Importance under the Ministry of culture, in state capital has got a permanent director. The post had remained vacant since former director, Dr Imtiyaz Ahmad had stepped down in June 2014 and the library was brought under the charge of the Patna commissioner.

On April 15, Dr Shayesta Bedar joined the KBPL and has become the first woman director in its 128-year long history. Earlier she was working as assistant librarian at the Maulana Azad Library, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

“The library happens to have a glorious past and my efforts would be revive that golden era,” Shayesta said.

The library has been known for its rare manuscripts, which count to more than 20,000 in its collections. These need to be digitised which is a kind of preservation. But this is also the process to make manuscripts available to a wider audience, she added.

“Some digitisation works have already been done here. Hardly 10 lakh folios of manuscripts have been digitised and a hug number of works are still waiting to be digitised. We will soon start working over it,” she said.

Apart from digitisation, these manuscripts also need tissue paper conservation. A conservation and preservation lab will be set up for this purpose, she added.

But the biggest work that Khuda Bakhsh Library is planning to do is to get the rare manuscripts on history and on other topics in Persian be translated in English and Hindi and to get these published.

“We have been familiar with the information and the history documented by the British rulers or the way British historians have translated the details originally written in Persian or in other languages. Why can’t we go through the original works? This is why we are planning translation of Persian manuscripts and these will be published also in book form,” she said.

Besides, a museum will be set up display the library’s rare manuscripts with the noting about their historical significance and highlights in English.

“We have already done this at Maulana Azad Library in Aligarh. People love watching writings of Jehanara, translations of Bhagwad Geeta by Faizi and Birbal or the translation of Upanishad by Dara Shikoh,” she said.

First Published:
Apr 19, 2019 12:01 IST

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