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India: Historic library in Delhi reopens after years of wait

Web Report/New Delhi
Filed on June 12, 2021

Developed way back in 1862, the library has 150,000 books, 8,000 of which are rare texts and 350 are handwritten manuscripts.


Many old libraries in India dating back to a century or more and featuring excellent collection of books are unfortunately in a terrible shape because of absence of funding and importantly, lack of reader interest and the consequential apathy on the part of officials.

Fortunately, there are some that are being revived and restored to ensure that the public can have access to the rich collection of rare books that they have. On Friday, the historical Hardayal Municipal Public Library was reopened in Chandni Chowk in Delhi after months of efforts to bring back its erstwhile stature of being a place to access rare collections of books and manuscripts.

Developed way back in 1862, the library has 150,000 books, 8,000 of which are rare texts and 350 are handwritten manuscripts. Some of them date back 300 years. Readers though may not be able to immediately access the library because of the current Covid-related restrictions of public places.

The digitisation and conservation of rare books was done by the India Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. The rare books include a handwritten Koran by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, a Persian translation of Mahabharata, ‘Relation of some year’ by Travaile Begvenne, which was printed in 1634, History of the World (1677) and Prem Sagar, the first book in Braj Bhasha (1881).





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