Khuda Baksh Library, Patna : Historical Treasure

Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna, founded in 1891 by Maulvi Khuda Baksh has the treasure of India’s rarest manuscripts. He was advocate and later promoted as Judge; considered by Jadunath Sarkar as one of the greatest Islamic Bibliography in India. Mohammad Baksh inherited 1400 manuscripts from his father Mohammad Baksh who was an advocate and scholar. He was in rivalry with Nawab of Rampur who was developing Raza Library. Decline of Mughal empire was the obvious reason and source for such manuscripts. Britsih Library offered him to gave his entire collections but he refused.

It was inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, Sir Charles Elliot. Today, it has treasure of 21,000 manuscripts and 2.5 lakh books in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Hindi, Sanskrit, English languages. Some of the rarest book include Tarikh-e Khandan-e Timuriya (History of Mughal Dynasty) commissioned by Emperor Akbar and the only copy available. There are also manuscripts from the personal collections of Shah Jahan and his daughter, Princess Jahan Ara. Library has also copy of famous English poet Lord Byron’s poem ‘Ode to Napoleon’, with two additional stanzas written in Baron’s own handwriting; as well as the original edition of ‘Memoirs of Napoleon Bonaparte’ written by his childhood friend and personal secretary Louis Antoine Fauvelet de Bourrienne. ( Inputs from ‘Live History India’)

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