MYSURU: In a tragic incident, miscreants have allegedly set ablaze a public library run by a 62-year-old daily wage labourer that had a collection of 11,000 books including three thousand copies of Bhagavad Gita, in Mysuru on Friday.
Syed Isaaq had become a popular face among the residents of Rajiv Nagar and Shanti Nagar in the city as he took up a bold step of setting up a library giving free access to all the residents in the region for the last 10 years.
Deprived of education, Isaaq worked as a bonded labourer before turning into an Under Ground Drainage (UGD) cleaner and did odd jobs to earn a livelihood.
“At 4 am, a man residing next to the library informed me that there was a fire inside. When I rushed to the library which is just a stone's throw away distance, I could only see them being reduced to ashes,” said Isaaq in teary eyes.
With an intent to help inculcate reading habits among the people and also encourage them to learn Kannada, Isaaq had set up this public library in a shed-like structure inside a corporation park in Rajiv Nagar second stage near Ammar Masjid. Every day, over 100-150 people would visit his library. Issaq would purchase over 17 newspapers including the ones in Kannada, English, Urdu and Tamil.
Nearly 85% of the books in his library collection were Kannada while several were English and Urdu. “The library had over 3,000 exquisite collections of Bhagavad Gita, over a 1,000 copies of Quran and Bible besides thousands of books of various genres which I sourced from donors,” he says.
Though he did not spend money from his pocket, he used to spend nearly Rs 6,000 for the maintenance of the library and on the purchase of newspapers.
Following this incident, Issaq approached the Udayagiri police station and lodged a complaint against the miscreants. Police have filed an FIR under the IPC section 436 and have launched an operation to nab the culprits.
However, the incident has not deterred Issaq. "I will not cow down. I will rebuild the library from the scratch".
“I was deprived of education and I want to ensure that others should not face my plight. I want people to learn, read and speak Kannada and will rebuild it again,” he said.