Buhar Library

Munshi Sayyid Sadr-ud-Din of Buhar, in the district of Burdwan, West Bengal, laid the foundation of Buhar Library. He was Mir Munshi of Mir Jafar, Nawab of Murshidabad. He served subsequently as Munshi to Lord Warren Hastings. He founded the famous Jalaliyah Madrasah (1775) and added the Jalaliyah Library to the Madrasah. His great grandson, Munshi Sayyid Sadr-ud-Din Ahmed (1843-1905) was a scholar. He added manuscripts and printed books to the Buhar Library, earlier known as Jalaliyah Library. It grew to 468 manuscripts in Arabic, and 483 in Persian, in addition to 940 books in Arabic, 400 in Persian, and 140 in Urdu.  Sadr-ud-Din Ahmed wanted  that ‘the Library should remain intact for the use of all succeeding generations of Arabic and Persian Scholars’. He gifted the Library to the Government of India under an agreement in 1904. One of the conditions was that it should be called Buhar Library.


An Illustration from Shah Namah


Some of the Rare Works in the Buhar Library

Several of the manuscripts in this Library are of great interest. Some of them are a history of Herat, a cosmographical work composed in the beginning of the sixth century of the Hijrah, and a work of rhyme and prosody of which only three other copies are known to exist in the world. Also, an exceedingly valuable copy of the famous epic poem Shah Namah by the celebrated Persian poet Makin Qasim Firdausi (933-1020), a fine specimen of eastern ornamentation, richly illuminated and written in fine Nastaliq.



 Title Page of Shah Namah

 An Illustration from Shah Namah



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