Maulana Azad Library in AMU: A Library to Cherish

 Maulana Azad Library in  AMU: A Library to Cherish

Bilal Ahmad Dar 

       I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library. Jorge Luis Borges

A library, as we know, is a powerhouse of productive knowledge and vibrating ideas. But Maulana Azad Library of AMU in Aligarh is not only the powerhouse of knowledge and vibrating ideas but also a springhead of inspiration, hope, liveliness wisdom, secularism, and many other tenable things. Knowledge seems to trickle down from the walls of the library. I experienced this all as a Ph.D. Research Scholar of the Department of English, AMU.

I visited AMU for the first time in October 2014. The only purpose of the visit was to appear for Ph.D. Entrance Exam (English). I reached AMU Campus at around 3 PM by train. I was received by Mudasir Irfan who was pursuing Ph.D. in the Department of Botany. He took me to his room in the famous Sir Zia Uddin Hall. On reaching his room, I took a shower and slept for some time to ease out the weariness of the long journey from home to Aligarh. As I awoke, it was evening. Mudasir Irfan took me outside for a cup of tea. I enjoyed the tea in the company of Mudasir Irfan and his other fellow scholars, the scholars full of passion and innovative ideas.

 After finishing tea, Mudasir Irfan took me to Maulana Azad Library. As we reached the front gate of the library, I was mesmerized to see the swarm of scholars. Some were coming out of the library and some going inside the library. On stepping inside, we entered the Research Division (RD). The division of the library where research scholars sit and peruse books relevant to their areas of research. I sensed calm and  aura of discipline emanating from the walls as well as from the poised faces of scholars. All the scholars were engrossed in their research endeavors. Seeing all this, I was quite impressed and prayed to God there and then for my selection in the University for pursuing research there so that I could get a chance to sit in the library and read new books and good scholarly articles. The next day, I appeared in the entrance exam. On the completion of the examination, I started exploring the campus and was hugely impressed by everything I came across.

After the entrance exam, the university declared the result and I was shortlisted and called for an interview for the final selection.  I faced the interview with full preparation and confidence. And after some days, the final selection list came out and I was selected as a research scholar. After completing the admission formalities, the actual research journey started. I selected the research topic, submitted the synopsis, and was put under the supervision of Prof. Rashmi Attri under whose tutelage I learned a lot many things.

To continue the research journey, like other scholars of the University, I would sit in the Library from morning till late evening with intermittent gaps to have a cup of tea outside in order to shake off the ennui and relax my mind.

Maulana Azad Library is the largest university library in Asia. It has seven large and spacious storeys. It was established in 1877 as Lytton Library and in 1960 it was formally inaugurated and renamed Mulana Azad Library after the name of the first Education Minster of India, Abul Kalama Azad. The Library is the storehouse and reservoir of books, journals, manuscripts, etc. You can find books and journals on every subject. Besides this, the scholarly dissertations and theses of the scholars are there in a separate compartment for future scholars to peruse. There are separate reading rooms for research scholars, undergraduates, and others. The reading culture in the library is awe-inspiring and all the more interesting. I was quite inspired to see retired professors always engrossed in reading books in the library. Seeing the retired professor and other teachers so passionate about gaining new knowledge and reading new books, motivated me to sit for a long time in the library and read books. The staff of the university is cooperative and friendly. The library staff is always on their toes to help the students in every which way.

I am indebted to Maulana Azad Library for many things. It has enhanced my interest in books. My love for books started when I for the first time entered the well-equipped and enlightening Research Division of the Library in 2014 to start my research work. It was love prima facie.  As I saw the stacks and stacks of books related to every discipline, I was impressed beyond measure. That very experience enhanced my interest in books. Maulana Azad Library is a name to reckon with. It has given me everything I looked for in its well-equipped book stacks. It has mothered my mind with its good reading culture and friendly environment. Its walls have given scholarly succor to my mind. The walls I would love to kiss with kindness!

                   Postscript: A library is a place vibrating with ideas. Nancy Lodge

Bilal Ahmad Dar is a Research Scholar in the Department of English, AMU. He has qualified UGC NET and JKSET for Assistant professorship. He can be mailed at:

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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