Syed Issaq, whose library – containing around 11,000 books – in – Mysuru was allegedly burnt down earlier this month, can take solace: the Karnataka government’s Public Library Department has agreed to donate 8,243 books to the city worker.
“The department will provide books to Syed Ishaq’s library, which fell prey to the mischief of the miscreants,” Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said.
A fire destroyed hundreds of books, including Kannada copies of religious scripts such as the Bhagwad Gita and Quran, which were collected by 62-year-old Syed Issaq in Shantinagar area over the last one decade.
Issaq had told The Federal that his library had 11,000 books, including religious books and poetry of authors such as Kuvempu, BV Karanth, besides children’s books and periodicals. Many of these books came through donations.
“After getting freed from bonded labour, I worked as drainage cleaner for two decades. Then I set up a tea shop and subscribed to a couple of newspapers as I saw people were interested in them. That’s how the idea of the library took shape,” Issaq said. “The fire incident has only strengthened me and I will fight back to set up not just one, but more libraries in the city,” Issaq had The Federal.
Running the library from a 180-sq ft shed with a tin roof in government land in the vicinity of a corporation park in Rajiv Nagar in Mysuru, Issaq’s library attracted more than 100 people every day. The library could accommodate more than half-a-dozen people at a time, he said. He has become a popular face in Mysuru with his effort to promote reading culture among the poor and the minority community.
“Some people had threatened me and demanded that I keep more books in Urdu than in Kannada,” he said.