A Mysuru man is set to inaugurate his library that he rebuilt with funds from the public and elected representatives after it was burnt down. In the aftermath of the fire, though civic agencies promised to help him rebuild the library, they failed to fulfill it.
Syed Isaaq, a 63-year-old resident of Rajiv Nagar whose library was burnt down on April 8 last year, has rebuilt his library with over 1800 books in stock. After the fire ravaged the building, people across the world offered help by sending books and donations to rebuild it on the land belonging to Mysore Urban Development Authority (MUDA). The Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and Department of Public Libraries had assured him that the library would be overhauled by August 12 so that it could reopen officially on Independence Day. But that promise never became a reality. Now, with the donations he received, Isaaq has brought the library back to life using Zinc sheets.
Isaaq told The Indian Express, “I received Rs 3.45 lakh in the form of cash from public and elected representatives that include MLAs Zameer Ahmed Khan, ST Somashekar and MP Pratap Simha. A 95-year-old woman donated Rs 15,000 for the cause. But I waited for the departments which took the responsibility to rebuild the library but it never happened. It was just waste of time. I decided to do it myself so that it can be inaugurated on Republic Day.”
He said that people from different parts of the world, from Kolkata to Dubai, Mumbai to US and Delhi to Canada, donated books for the cause. “There are also about 6,500 books stored in University of Mysore political science department which I will bring here.”
Though the library is yet to be officially inaugurated, Isaaq said he is happy to see children coming and studying there. “I am grateful to all those who have helped me to build this library in the form of money as well as books.”
Though his library was burnt down on April 8, Isaaq arrived at the spot every day around 7 am, carrying 22 newspapers of several languages and some books. He used cement blocks as chairs for readers. “I had told them (govt depts) I would wait till November end. I used to carry books every day and the number of readers also increased. Then rain came and it became hard for me to maintain without a shelter for books. MCC and Public libraries department may have failed to keep their word but I am responsible for the money that donors gave me. On December 2, I started my work to build and now we have 12 x18 feet (built up area). I request the public to visit and utilise this public-funded library.”
Isaaq, deprived of a formal education, worked as a bonded labourer before he turned into an Under Ground Drainage (UGD) cleaner and did odd jobs. Though he did not get an opportunity to study, Isaaq did not want anyone else to face the same plight. That’s how the library came up. He continues to petition for more libraries in the city.
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