Syed Issaq, a 62-year-old daily wage labourer who maintained a library of 11,000 books in Mysuru, was left distraught on Friday morning when miscreants set fire to his library. The books, which were mostly in Kannada, were reduced to ashes. Syed was informed about the fire at 3.50 am on Friday, by a resident living near the library. Issaq rushed to the spot to try and douse the fire but to no avail, and the books were burnt by the time the flames were doused by fire department personnel. The library was located in a shed in Rajiv Nagar's Corporation Park close to Amar Masjid.
According to Syed, miscreants had earlier caused trouble to his library. Following the fire on Friday, he filed a complaint with the Udaygiri police over the incident. The case has been registered under section 436 (mischief by fire) of the Indian Penal Code. Alongside his library, a sofa repair shed located close to the library was also burnt down. However, according to the police, the area near the library is used as a garbage dump, which is often lit on fire. This, along with un-stubbed cigarette butts could also be the cause for the library burning down, they suspect.
The library was set up in January 2011 by Syed to get more people in his area to read books. "I didn't read (in my childhood) and I wanted people to read. This is a slum area and I kept Kannada and Urdu books. I wanted Kannada to grow and prosper," Syed Issaq told TNM.
Along with his collection of books, Ishaq also kept over 17 daily newspapers in Kannada, English, Urdu and Tamil. His library contained 3000 Bhagavad Gita copies, as well as copies of the Quran and Bible. He sourced books through donors, and most of them were in Kannada. Syed previously worked as a labourer cleaning the underground drainage system, and did other odd jobs to earn a living. He said that he wants to rebuild the library for the residents in his area. "I want to set up a library in the same spot and I don't want to consider this the end. The library may have burnt down but my will to set up the library here remains," Syed Ishaq said.
You can help Syed rebuild his library through this fundraiser.