New Delhi, April 13 (IANS) The Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) on Friday said it was not shutting down the historic Maulana Azad library at the headquarters here but “something was being planned” about it.
An official at the Director General’s office said that “something” was indeed “being planned for the library” including “perhaps shifting of the library out of ICCR headquarters”, but refused to divulge any details.
ICCR Chairman Vinay P. Sahasrabuddhe said the library was not seeing much footfall “perhaps due to its location” and that it was being planned to make it “more accessible”.
“The library is intact with all its archives and books. But it is not accessible perhaps thanks to its location. We are applying our mind to make it more accessible. The library is not being shut down,” Saharsrabuddhe told IANS.
On Wednesday, activist Firoz Bakht Ahmed claimed that the ICCR was planning to do away with the library called ‘Gosha-e-Azad’ which boasts of some rare manuscripts of poets like Ameer Khusro, Maulana Rumi, Hafiz Shirazi and Sheikh Saadi beside a carefully curated collection of other rare books.
The ICCR was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of India.
Ahmed, who claims to be the grandnephew of Maulana Azad, said the Gosha-e-Azad was the personal collection of Maulana Azad that was shifted to ICCR headquarters during his lifetime from his official residence at 4, King Edward Road (now Maulana Azad Road) which is at present the official residence of the Vice President of India.
“I think India needs to respect the legacy of politicians like Maulana Azad whose knowledge of philosophy, Islamic jurisprudence and Indian culture was encyclopedic. He was bold enough to propagate Indian nationalism among the Muslims at variance with the prevalent political consciousness based on communalised politics,” he said.