Syed while speaking to TNM expressed his worry that the library could be run differently than he intended if the government bodies take over.

Syed Issaq, librarian of the burnt down library in Mysuru
news Controversy Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 12:41

Three government bodies are set to rebuild a library building in Mysuru at the same spot where it was burnt down on April 9. The library was maintained by 62-year-old daily wage labourer Syed Issaq and had around 11,000 books, but it was burnt down after a drunk man disposed of a lit matchstick after lighting a beedi near the library. The Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA), the municipal authority Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) and the Department of Libraries, a department under the state government, are now set to rebuild the library, after massive public support for Syed and his library. 

This comes after online fundraisers for rebuilding the library, started by IT professional Fathaheen Misbah on Ketto and Milaap on April 10, collected Rs 29 lakh. On April 15,  MUDA, MCC, and the Department of Libraries released a statement in which they said that the construction and maintenance will be taken over by the three authorities. According to the statement, the governing bodies asked for the money raised by donations to be deposited into a newly created bank account, and that no other organization could collect money for the construction of the library. The statement further stated that the remaining money after construction will be put in a Fixed Deposit account and the interest received from the account will be provided to Syed as an honorarium.

The governing authorities’ move angered several people who took to Twitter to express their displeasure. Several of them who said they had donated to the cause, demanded their money back if it was going to the government.

Following this, on April 17, Fathaheen said the government has taken it upon itself to rebuild the library with the new structure. She further said that inputs will be sought from the donors by Ketto and that their opinions will be respected.

On Tuesday,  Fathaheen tweeted, “As Govt has come forward & taken it upon themselves to execute this project, based on donor requests, we will be returning the valuable contributions to all donors.” Hours later she tweeted that the refund has been initiated by Ketto.

Following this, TNM spoke to MUDA Commissioner Natesh who reacted saying, “We never asked anyone to gather donations and it also doesn’t matter if that is returned. Our intention is only to support Syed Issaq and his dream of spreading Kannada. We opened the account because there has to be transparency when it involves money of people who want to support the cause. We will still continue with it and we will build a library.”

He added, “Is it possible to construct a library just from donations? As libraries come under education, even the education minister has also expressed his willingness to support the project.”

Syed while speaking to TNM expressed his worry that the library could be run differently than he intended if the governing bodies take over, which includes having majorly Kannada books, decorating the library on days that hold significance to Kannada and having a Kannada flag.

He said, “The government has promised that I will be the one running the library but somewhere I am worried that restrictions might be imposed on the way I intend to run the place. I want to train my son or daughter to run this place just like I did even after I am gone. So, all I want is for the government to employ my son or daughter to run the place so I can teach them how to run the library.”

He further expressed his desire that a committee of Kannadigas be created by the authorities to look after the administration so that his intentions of starting a library to spread Kannada doesn’t come to an end after him.

Read also: Library with 11,000 books burnt down in Mysuru, librarian vows to rebuild it

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