Former IPS Amitabh Kumar Das returns police medal to defend the Khuda Baksh public library. Das decried the government’s decision to destroy part of the iconic library for construction of a flyover nearby.
In a bid to decry Bihar government’s plan to demolish a large part of the historic Khuda Baksh Oriental public library in Patna capital, former IPS officer Amitabh Kumar Das returned his police medal to President Ramnath Kovind, reported Jagta Hindustan on April 12, 2021.
Along with the medal, Das sent a letter to Kovind that said, “Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has decided to demolish parts of the historic Khuda Baksh library on orders of corrupt contractors and tender mafia. The library is a legacy of the entire human race, a symbol of the “Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb.” The whole of Bihar is proud of it. As a book-lover, I am deeply shocked by this decision. I served the country for many years as an IPS officer. I am returning to you the police medal given by the Government of India to protest the Nitish government’s decision.”
Similarly, Das talked about his campaign “Har Shakhs: Khuda Bakhsh” (Every person for Khuda Baksh) to save the library and appealed to people associated with education and literature across India to return their Padma Shri or Sahitya Akademi Award and stand in solidarity with the Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library.
According to the Bihar State Bridge Construction Corporation, the demolition of the Curzon reading room and front garden of the library is required to overcome traffic issues from Kargil Chowk to NIT flyover. According to the Siasat, parts of Patna Medical College and Government Urdu library will also be affected. However, Das’s Bihar Viplavi Parishad organization opposed this decision.
The Khuda Bakhsh Oriental library is one of India’s national libraries boasting lakhs of books and manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Pashto, and Turkish. The public library was opened on October 29, 1891 by Khan Bahadur Khuda Bakhsh with 4,000 manuscripts. The place is known for its rare collection of Persian and Arabic manuscripts. Over the years, many lords and ladies, kings, nawabs, freedom fighters including Mahatma Gandhi, poets and patriots have visited the library.