The library was initially called Osmania University library, named after the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

Row over renaming Osmania Uni library in Hyderabad activists protest
news Controversy Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 13:40

Activists belonging to various organisations took to peaceful protest at the Hyderabad’s Osmania University to oppose the renaming of the University’s library to Bharat Ratna Dr BR Ambedkar Library. Activists, accompanied by advocates, had entered the premises during renaming ceremony on Friday. Although they started raising a few slogans, the police quickly removed them from the campus.

The library was initially called Osmania University library, named after the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan. It was established in 1918 along with the University and later moved to another building, which was inaugurated by the then President Dr Radhakrishnan in 1963.

The University’s Vice-Chancellor presided over the renaming ceremony on Friday along with several students of the University. Naresh, a student of journalism in the University, told TNM, “Our group of Dalit minority students has been asking for this renaming since a few years and finally they agreed. We are proud to be able to honour such a great icon in our University.”

However, the new name did not gain the approval from others, including Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, the grandson of Mir Osman Ali Khan, who established the Osmania University in 1908.

He condemned the renaming in a video addressing the public, stating that it was his grandfather who built the massive library, containing nearly 5,00,000 books and 6,000 manuscripts.

“Even though Dr BR Ambedkar is respected and loved by everyone in this country, not only for drafting the constitution but for being a social worker, it is hurtful to many people that they are trying to rename it,” said Nawab Najaf Ali Khan. He also wrote a letter to the Chancellor of Osmania University, Governor ESL Narasimhan, urging him to make the University revoke their decision to rename the library.

Activist Lubna Sarwath of the Socialist Party of India said, “This trend of renaming should not be tolerated and we must not let this trend invade this university. We have appealed to the University authorities but they have not responded.”

She also said that the party has written to the Chief Electoral Officer, “because the renaming violates the Model Code of Conduct which is still in place,” she claimed. Although efforts have been made by activists and the Nizam family to thwart the renaming, it doesn’t seem to have had much effect, considering the library has been officially renamed.

Despite many attempts to contact the University’s administration, TNM was unable to reach them for comment.


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