Wednesday 28 August 2013

A virtual treasure trove

A few days ago, the post had carried an article on libraries in Bangalore. Today, we are carrying an article on two little known libraries of Bangalore.
One of the library is called the Muslim Library in located in the downtown of Bangalore Cantonment and it is a little more than pone hundred years old.
The other library is in the United Theosophical College. This is considered to be one of the leading theological libraries in Asia. The library has a built-in area of over 43,000 square feet and the air-conditioned basement houses the Archives.
Let us first start with the Muslim Library.
This institution, which is located in one of the by lanes of Shivajinagar completed a hundred years in existence in 1912. It is located in the busy Veerapillai Street in Shivajinagar and it has one of the best and most comprehensive repository of Urdu and Islamic literature and also rare Urdu literary magazines.
It was initially started in a small building on Cavalry Road, now renamed as Kamaraj Road, before it moved to its present premises. The library was set up thanks to the efforts of  businessmen like Abdur Rauf, Muhammad Abdulaziz, Muhammad Saleh Ansari advocate, and historian Mahmood Khan Mahmood.
Among its early trustees was Mahmood Khan Mahmood, the noted author of history of Tipu Sultan in Urdu called Saltanat-e-Khudadad.
The library was a beehive of activity in pre Independence days and poet Sir Mohammad Iqbal visited it in 1929, writer Syed Sulaiman Nadvi  in 1925, Baba e Urdu Maulvi Abdul Huq in 1937, poet Josh Maleehabadi and poet Jigar Muradabadi in 1942.
The library has nearly 30,000 books and two thirds of them are in Urdu. A majority of Urdu books deal with the holy Quaran and there are innumerable commentaries on it.
Apart from the Quaran, there are excellent books on Urdu plays, satire, short stories, Islamic history, travelogues, theology, health, poetry and criticism. There are also many lexicons, novels and books on the history of freedom struggle.
The pride of the library is rare manuscripts in Arabic and Persian. The oldest manuscript is Jamiat Tazeerat by Hafiz Muhammad Maghribi, a Deccani Urdu manuscript calligraphed by Muhammad Ashraf Budhan 195 years ago. A few letters of Tipu Sultan are part of the collection too.
Another institution with an equally hoary past is the ULC library.  The library houses 75,000 books, 672 periodical titles, 420 microfilms of historical record and 23,023 microfiims which includes the Indian census from 1872.
The Archives preserves the original records and periodicals on the history of missions, churches, microfilm / microfiche during the last two centuries.
Some of the rare books are Martin Luther's Commentary on the Galatians in Latin, printed in Basel in 1523; Bartholomew Ziegenbalg's Grammatica Damulica, Hale, 1716 and the Biblia Damulica by Zie genbalg and Benjamin Schultze, Tranquebar, 1725-28.

The library has a Palm Leaf Collection dating back to about 600 years and they are in Kannada, Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Malayalam on subjects as varied as history, poetry, stotras, puranas and  astrology.

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