DNA | Last Modified - Feb 16, 2012, 03:51 AM IST
Ahmedabad: Before embarking on his Dandi March in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi had donated his huge collection of 11,640 books to city's Maneklal Jethabhai Library (MJ Library). Today, most of those books are in a dire state and almost half of them are missing.
Taking a clue from DNA report published on October 2, 2011, leader of opposition in the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) Badruddin Shaikh raised the issue at the board on Wednesday. While discussing MJ Library's budget at AMC's budget board, Shaikh demanded an inquiry into the matter.
When Bapu embarked on the Dandi March, his library at Sabarmati Ashram was closed and the books were donated to AMC's public library. The books were a personal collection by Bapu.
"DNA had reported that as many as half of the books donated by Gandhiji are missing and it should be taken seriously. We demand proper inquiry into the matter," said Shaikh. Mayor Asit Vora, who is speaker of AMC's board, is also the ex-officio chairman of MJ Library management board.
Haji Asrarbeg Mirza, a Congress corporator from Sarkhej ward, said that proper attention should be paid to safeguard the rare books. "There are many rare books stored in MJ Library. Some members do not return these books and instead pay their price, which is undesirable. These books are hard to find anywhere else and must be preserved," said Mirza.
He also said that rare collections of books should be treated chemically for preservation and the books should be digitised and the original copies should be laminated. While speaking on budget of MJ Library, Congress corporator from Juna Vadaj ward, Naran Patel, demanded that more staff be employed at the library to provide better services to readers. The corporator said that MJ Library is short of around 41 employees as per the schedule.