I read the news of the closing of the A.A. Hussain (AAH) Bookshop with great sadness (Islamic Voice, April 2015). Closure of any bookshop is saddening, but this particular bookshop has a very special place in our family history. In the early 1970’s we (my mother and siblings, as my father did not have enough leave) were on our annual summer visit to Hyderabad from Delhi to meet our grandmother. During that visit, we bought the Purnell’s New Junior World Encyclopedia, from AAH. In those days of letter and telegram, we were not carrying enough money to purchase an encyclopedia. So, my late mother opted to sell her gold finger-ring and eventually purchased the encyclopedia after some discount. The encyclopedia had a decisive influence on all the kids who have internationally accomplished careers in sciences. Now, the encyclopedia is part and parcel of the family heritage and has undergone restoration due to extensive usage. The papers are still white and the photographs are bright with no sign of aging.
Later, we migrated to Hyderabad and were educated in one of the reputed schools at a walking distance from the AAH. I distinctly remember visiting AAH regularly during my high school years. AAH was strategically located in Abids (abbreviation for Abid Ali Road!), which boasts of several reputed schools as old as the famous AAH. I do not recall a single visit to Abids, when I did not pause to look at the books on display, at least from the outside.
I wish the dozen or so schools and the affluent business establishments in Abids had supported the noble cause and prevented the closure of AAH. Its closure is a big loss to the academia. For me and my relatives it is also a personal loss. We shall miss the AAH in our next visit to Abids.
Dr. Sameen Ahmed Khan
Assistant Professor of Physics
Salalah College of Technology,
Salalah, Sultanate of Oman
Category: Letters to Editor