The visit to Har Mandir Sahib left me a little somber but when I reached the Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Patna I saw a modestly constructed building surrounded by some landscaping but the building stores some very important books and transcripts, which by no means is modest. It is one of the national libraries in India and was opened for the general masses by Khan Bahadur Khuda Baksh.
I reckon, Khan Bahadur Khuda Baksh had an insight into the immense importance of these 4000 manuscripts that he inherited from his father or else such wealth of knowledge could forever disappear. Now the library is under the care of the ministry of culture and looked after by a board, which has the governor of Bihar presiding it. Dr. Imtiaz Ahmed is the director of the place. As I entered the building a distinct smell of old books filled my nostrils. There were other people around me too seated in chairs with a book or some document opened in front of them, which they were reading with full concentration. In general, there was pin-drop silence observed in the library in the reading rooms.
A different room or hall, more correctly has neat rows of glass almirahs lined up at one side, where I was told all the rare patents and data bases kept. I could also choose to examine any of these papers with permission from the librarians sitting in the other corner but utmost care is taken in the case of books and hence, unless there is a genuine need for visitors to read a book they are refrained from accessing it. I am impressed with the expertise and general upkeep of the place. Thank God for government intervention in taking over the library, or I would hate to see these very important books neglected. The noteworthy manuscripts kept here are the military accounts of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Shah Nama, Timur Nama; it also has notable mughal royal paintings on display. As I move from one hall to the other, I know I would never forget the importance of Khuda Baksh Oriental Library, Patna but I needed to proceed to the Mahatma Gandhi Setu.