There is a wave of happiness in Urdu circles with the re-opening of the Urdu Bazaar branch of Maktaba Jamia. Thus, apart from Delhi, Tumaktab Jamia also has branches in Mumbai and Aligarh, but due to its importance and location, Delhi’s Urdu Bazaar branch is the most important. That’s why its closure had a profound effect on all the Urdu lovers. It happened that on August 31, Ali Khusro Zaidi, the in-charge of the place, was suddenly sacked and locked in the Urdu Bazaar branch, which caused a lot of pain to the Urdu lovers. After the closure of this branch, Rakim Al Haruf wrote a post and shared her pain with others. I am happy that not only Urdu newspapers have paid attention to this but also the largest English language newspaper ‘Times of India’ has published news on it. Not only that, the English and Hindi websites of ‘The Wire’ also tried to reach the root of this problem. In Urdu newspapers, daily ‘Inqlab (North)’ and ‘Mumbai Urdu News’ took unusual interest in this problem and this matter. It spread all over the country. I am happy that my small post was accepted to have such a big impact. But the matter does not end here. Actually, the school of Jamia as a whole has been on its deathbed for the last many years. It is actually Jamia Millia Islamiaand the Jamia owns 92% of its shares, but the attitude of the present management of the Jamia is incomprehensible towards its own school. Ever since the present Vice-Chancellor Ms. Najma Akhtar took charge, all the activities of the school have come to a standstill. For the last five years, neither the meeting of the board of directors of the school nor any new book has been published. Even the employees of the school have not received their salaries for the last 22 months and they are forced to starve. The condition of the school was much better during the previous vice chancellor Najib Jung’s time and during his tenure, hundreds of valuable books of the school were sold to the national government. It was published with the collaboration of the Urdu Council. At that time, the managing director of the school was Professor Khalid Mahmood, and his efforts were also very involved, but after Najib Jang, neither a new book nor a book was published in the school. The publication of valuable journals like ‘Payam Shikhar’ and ‘Payam Shikhar’ was started. If the current vice chancellor wanted, she could have improved the financial condition of the university by giving the papers, stationery, and distance education to the school. But all these works are also being done from outside and the Vice Chancellor is totally indifferent to the school.
Maktaba Jamia was established in 1922 by Dr. Zakir Hussain. It was not just a commercial publishing house, but it published valuable books at a very low price and enriched the minds and consciousness of millions of people. Apart from the important works of creative minds, the school also published textbooks according to the curriculum needs of the students. K. Completed the plan to publish short but comprehensive books under the title ‘Maiyari Series’. The fact is that even today scholars and students use the publications of the Jamia School.
Those who are familiar with the world of books must remember a name related to Maktaba Jamia, who brought this institution to the top with his extraordinary abilities. This personality was the late Shahid Ali Khan, who was once the head of Maktaba Jamia. He used to be the manager of the school and on his small table in the office of the school, there was a recipe to ease every difficulty. It was the time when the office of the school of Jamia was located on the same Gulmehr Road highway near Takuna Park. Where at one time Dr. Zakir Hussain, Dr. Abid Hussain, Khawaja Ghulam Al Sayedin, and other scholars of the Jamia were staying. At the time when the building of Teachers Training College was being built, the need for a permanent building for Maktaba Jamia was also felt. But at that time the Jamia was short of funds. Roy Prithviraj, the architect of the Teachers Training College, suggested that if the Jamia was ready, he could build the Maktaba Jamia building from the materials left over from the construction of the Teachers Training College building. For this, only the university will have to pay the labor money. The proposal was accepted and thus Maktaba Jamia got a permanent building.
The first persecution of Jamia School took place during the tenure of Professor Mushirul Hasan. In other words, this school building was bulldozed and moved to the huts behind the Jamia College, and a distance education institution named after Arjun Singh was established in its place. In the same period, the painful task of Shahid Ali Khan’s separation from Maktaba Jamia was also completed. After Shahid Ali Khan, the people who were entrusted with the reins of this historic publishing house were its honorary managers and had no connection with the publishing industry. There these precious books were seen in a bad condition. After that, the school shifted to the Ansari Health Center building and he wandered around like an orphan. Today, this historic institution which has published thousands of valuable books is lamenting its condition.
There is no doubt that boom and bust is the order of the world and today the Urdu publishing industry is going through a difficult period. The practice of people buying books and making them the apple of their eye is dying out. But those institutions are definitely developing which are associated with stable and strong institutions. Maktaba Jamia is one such institution that is affiliated with a central educational institution like Jamia Millia Islamia. There is a need to make a solid plan to give a new life to Maktaba Jamia. Steps should also be taken to improve the condition of Urdu Bazarshakh and other branches of Maktaba Jamia. What is most needed is that the responsibility of the school should be entrusted to someone who has experience in the publishing industry. There should also be a better arrangement for the idle properties of Maktaba Jamia. Among them is the shuttered ‘Liberty Art Press’ at Pataudi House for years. If immediate attention is not paid to the health and wellness of Maktaba Jamia, then this historical institution that enlightened people’s minds for a century will die and its biggest loss will be to knowledge and knowledge.