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Celebrating Century: Historic library in Central India that is termed as Pride of Nagpur

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Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Tens of thousands of books, a huge collection that includes texts in Urdu, English, Hindi, Arabic, Marathi and other languages, the Sadar Muslim Library is an iconic institution in Central India.

For over a century, it has been catering to the needs of the literature lovers, knowledge seekers and students. 

This library that is located in the heart of Nagpur in Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, was started in the year 1922. It has now completed 100 years of its existence. 

The Sadar Muslim Library was set up by Munshi Abdul Jabbar Khan. It had got recognition from the administration in 1957. Over the years, the collection grew and the number of books and magazines that were bought and added to the collection, went up, significantly. 

A well managed library, the present management is ensuring that books that are relevant and important, are bought consistently. This is the reason that prominent authors and contemporary writers' books are purchased and the selection committee ensures that books that quench the thirst of the reader, should be brought. 

From old books to rare Urdu novels, the library has a collection that includes latest books for students as well. The literary magazines from different parts of the country are also available here. Mukarram Husain Khateeb is the president of the library while Mujeeb Siddiqui is vice president, Hamid Qureshi is the secretary and joint secretary Qutub Zafar is also among the management. 

It has got patrons and in the past, people generously supported it. Literature, fiction and non fiction apart, the library boasts of a collection of rare Urdu books that are not easy to find. It also has classical literature as well as books on religion, philosophy, science and all the important subjects.

Incidentally, there is another 'Muslim Library' in Nagpur that was also set up before independence in Mominpura near Nagpur railway station. However, it is past its days of glory. While many libraries of yore are not managed efficiently or don't get readers, the Sadar Muslim Library has a regular flow of readers and is seen as an institution that serves the intellectual requirement of the citizens in the city.

Apart from members, youth also come to study and sit in the reading room. In contrast with other libraries, the Sadar Muslim Library is also an institution that holds functions, literary meets and celebrates events, holds exhibitions and keeps a connect with the readers and visitors. No wonder, it is termed as 'Pride of Nagpur'. 

Shams Ur Rehman Alavi

Journalist for more than 20 years. Had started his career with National Mail in the nineties. Worked as Special Correspondent with Hindustan Times, as an Assistant Editor with DB Post, later Contributing Editor with The Huffington Post, writes for First Post, The Wire, Newsd & several other major publications.