With great pleasure I wish to share with the readers of Bihar and around the world, a brief history of the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public library and its founder, as recorded by my eminent historian father, Syed Ahsan Shere.
A Journey of Faith and Realization
Shiva is one of the most popular gods in the Hindu pantheon. One can find a Shiva temple or at least a Shiva Chabutra (platform) in almost every village of India.
A few months ago, we had received a letter from Mr. Donald L. Reid of Ayrshire, Scotland, informing us that there is yet another place on this planet that shares the name of the capital city of Bihar, Patna. Since then, we, at PatnaDaily.Com, had been toying with the idea of sharing this information with our visitors but for one reason or another, the idea remained just that, an idea!
It is a common misconception that Vardhaman Mahaveer was the founder of Jainism. But now it is proven by many Indian and western scholars and historians that he was not the founder but a reformer who reformed and refined previous teachings of Parshwanath, the 23 rd Jain Teerthankar (Prophet).
Recently we received a letter from Mr. Dorian Williams who was a British soldier deployed in India before the country gained independence in 1947. Below is the transcript of our email exchange. We hope you like it as much as we did. - Editor
Rakhi or Raksha Bandhan is the sweetest of festival – solemn, sacred and simple that registers and testifies the chaste bond between brother and sister, and perhaps found nowhere in any other human civilization the world. This is a great Indian social bonding and a very special occasion. The thread is symbolic, but the love it carries is noble and deep. The meaning of protection lies in the true love and bonding a brother feels for his sister, not on this day only but for the whole of life. It signifies, without doubt, that a brother must protect his sister from all the evils. It demands that the stronger must protect the weaker.
Bihar has a long history of organized education. Once upon a time, Bihar was a leading place in terms of higher education. Nalanda and Vikramshila University was the two most important centres for learning in India. Nalanda University being the focal point handled all branches including (Art, Architecture, Painting, Logic, Grammar, Philosophy, Astronomy, Literature, Buddhism, Hinduism, Arthashastra (Economics & Politics), Law, and Medicine, Arithmetic, Theology, Law, Metaphysics, Ethics) and housed up to 10,000 students at its peak.
Rice is the most popular grain in the world, even more than wheat. It is consumed by most of Asia as the main staple and is used as a side dish in Europe, Africa and America. Thus it is a commodity with tremendous potential in world trade. And Patna Rice can be a huge geographic indicator with tremendous business potential.
Processed and preserved foodstuffs have been among the most remarkable catalysts for bringing about change in the food habits of a substantially large urban population. From eating merely for subsistence, people now show preference for supplementing their diet with value-added foodstuffs. Increase in consumption of processed foods is noticeable across various categories of the population and the trend of 'eating out' has grown manifold. With these trends the market for processed food is growing significantly and it is expected that the food industry should grow rapidly and cross the two hundred thousand crore mark by the turn of the century.
The history of the Oriental Public Library was written by my father Syed Ahsan Shere, a historian, the first Curator of Patna Museum and the Secretary of Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library from May 1957 till October 1962. I found in his memoirs the brief history of this famous international library which I wish to share with the people of Bihar and the remarks by some prominent people who visited this library.
Eulogized in history books as the seat of many famous Indian dynasties, the Indian state of Bihar has also been the cradle of myriad religious faiths. It was in this state that Jainism, which today boasts of millions of adherents was first propagated. The chief proponent of Jain religion, Mahavira was born near Patna, capital of Bihar, in 599 BC. At very young age he became an ascetic and meditated for a long time before he became enlightened and thereafter he preached for thirty years until he attained nirvana or salvation. Today Bihar is awash with Jain relics and temples. Sadly however, many of these temples and relics have faded into the mists of time, but those that remain are testimony to the strong Jain tradition of Bihar.
Legal education should aim at promoting 'Justice' rather than just resolve disputes & improve relationship. The study of law in order to be meaningful has to be context of social realities.
People all over the world who are Urdu poetry enthusiast will be familiar with the name of Dr. Kaleem Ajiz, who is currently on a North America and Canada visit. Dr. Ajiz, a very respected world renowned Urdu poet from Patna, is currently in Toronto, Canada. PatnaDaily.Com had the privilege to briefly highlight the great life and work of this scholar and philosopher who most certainly has left an indelible mark in the Indian literary world.