Patna’s Khuda Bakhsh library continues to draw foreign scholars
Rare Persian and Arabic manuscripts and published material at Patna’s Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library, one of the national libraries under the ministry of culture, continues to attract foreign researchers and scholars.
While the library remains a favourite destination for visitors from countries like Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Uzbekistan, its unique repository of oriental manuscripts has also been drawing research scholars, writers and academicians from the US and from many European countries and China.
The collections at the library include works by Rumi, Shahnama by Firdausi, Diwan- e- Hafiz, which carries signature of Mughal Emperor Jehangir, the Khandan-e-Timuria and Badshahnama.
The library has more than 21,000 manuscripts in Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish and Pashto. The collections at the library also have Mughal miniatures and books written on deer skin.
“One research scholar from China, Du Fei, left the city only yesterday. Fei was here for the last few days. He seemed to be interested in the Persian manuscripts . The entries in the library register indicates he consulted mainly Persian manuscripts and books,” said Shaista Bedar, the KBPL director.
In fact, the Chinese research scholar attended the Mughal Persian Language Programme, arranged by the American Institute of Indian Studies in Lucknow, and had arrived here just to go through the Mughal age Persian manuscripts, Bedar said.
“Just a few weeks ago, a writer from London, Rustam Ali, and an academician from the US, Marianne Bachmann, dropped in just to see the rare manuscripts,” said Masood Saheb, a library staffer. “They were here for hours, making notes of the written material,” he said. Sometimes, research scholars join the library for a month. “Some of the manuscripts in the library are the lone piece and are not available anywhere else,” he said.
Former KBPL director, Imtiyaz Ahmad, said that during his tenure also, the library had guests from all over the world, including a top government official from Iran and Nuzhat from Islamabad, Pakistan, who happens to be the daughter of the great writer, Manto.
Bedar said it was a matter of pride and it would try to do more development works for the convenience of the foreign visitors.
“The library had a guest room, which could be hired by the visitors. But no such facility is available now. The old guest house also needs renovation,” she said.
But very soon this guest house will be renovated. “The canteen at the library will soon be made functional,” she said.