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Published in the 1-15 May 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

PROFILE
Guide to Islamic manuscripts in India

Scholars of Islamic studies know that India is one of the richest repositories of unpublished manuscripts in languages written in Arabic script such as Arabic itself, Persian, Pushto, Sindhi, Turkish, and of course Urdu. 

Dr Omar Khalidi Dr Omar Khalidi, on the staff at the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Department of Architecture, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology has compiled and edited A Guide to Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu Libraries in India on the web (see http://www.lib.umich. edu/area/Near.East/MELANotes7576/toc7576.html).

This guide is also available in the PDF format. Dr Khalidi has surveyed the contents, not just of the obvious and major collections at Salar Jang Museum, AP Government Manuscripts Library, AMU's Azad Library, Khuda Bakhsh, Raza Library Rampur, the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, and the like, but also small, hitherto unknown collections in just about all parts of India. In all about a hundred libraries have been covered in this Guide.

Although this project, a guide to manuscript collections should have been undertaken by the Union government, its dull bureaucrats cannot be expected to take up innovative projects. Such a Guide merits widest publicity both to inform the interested public as well as genuine publicity for India's rich heritage.

No serious scholar of Indian and Islamic studies can afford to ignore this Guide. Interested readers should check the website, those without access to high-speed internet connection, should write to the author Dr Omar Khalidi by regular postal mail at Aga Khan Program, MIT, Building 7-238, Cambridge, MA 02139 USA.

Dr Omar Khalidi is the author of several books, namely, Hyderabad: After the Fall, Indian Muslims Since Independence, Suqut-i Hyderabad, Romance of the Golconda Diamonds, and Khaki and the Ethnic Violence in India: A Study of Indian Armed Forces, Paramilitary and the Police, published and widely reviewed last year. 

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