Thursday, January 21, 2021

Urdu Mahabharata e-book in Rekhta's virtual library

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Urdu virtual library at www.Rekhta.org. Source: rekhta.org
Urdu virtual library at www.Rekhta.org. Source: rekhta.org

It’s a virtual library where some 90,000 titles in Urdu – including the Mahabharata and the Quran, as also autobiographies, fiction, travelogues, translations, manuscripts and pop magazines – have been digitised and made available on an internet portal for academicians, scholars and researchers to benefit from. In addition, the Rekhta.org portal offers a collection of ‘shers’ and ‘shayaris’ and an essential collection of iconic poets – all this for free!

Urdu Mahabharata e-book in Rekhta's virtual library. Source: https://www.rekhta.org/ebooks/mahabharat-volume-001-ebooks
Urdu Mahabharata e-book in Rekhta’s virtual library. Source: https://www.rekhta.org/ebooks/mahabharat-volume-001-ebooks

“Our e-book project took birth in 2013 after the idea of an Urdu virtual library was discussed by me and a few university professors when the absence of an Urdu archive was collectively felt by all.

We then embarked on a journey to overcome the barrier of inaccessibility and lack of resources in Urdu learning and reached out to various sources, both public and private across India, majorly covering cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Rampur, Bhopal, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Aligarh, Patna and others,” the portal’s founder, Noida-based entrepreneur Sanjiv Saraf, told IANS in an interview.

- Advertisement -

“Without archiving, an ageless language with its long due recognition and respect would have died long ago, depriving our future generations from cherishing the rich heritage of Urdu,” Saraf added.

The 90,000 e-books – a staggering 19 million pages – are classified into diverse categories including children’s literature, banned books, diaries and translations and can then be accessed by students, scholars, researchers, litterateurs and lovers of the language anytime and from anywhere around the world.

“We are continuing to scout libraries and private collections for more books that can be digitized and made accessible to readers across the world. Rare, out of print books that are totally inaccessible to the masses as they are stored in various libraries all across the country which are prone to damage and destruction due to termite, water and fire damage are being sought,” Saraf explained.

Most of the books were secured through camps organised by Rekhta at which several publications and private parties willingly donated century-old Urdu scripts. Lucknow’s Naval Kishore Press, founded in 1858 and arguably Asia’s oldest printing and publishing concern, was a major contributor, rendering some 2,000 books which included translations of the Mahabharata and the Quran and rare manuscripts starting from the 17th century.

“Many of the texts received were tattered and torn due to negligence and poor handling. Rekhta assembled all such texts which were then reprinted, re-dyed and recreated for audience consumption,” Saraf said.

“The same kind of archival has begun for Hindi readers with a different team attending to Hindi texts and scripts available for digitization. The project has been running successfully in its attempt to virtually reincarnate Urdu literature as Western scholars and professors make use of Rekhta’s e-library in their studies,” Saraf pointed out.

Some of the institutions associated with the project are Idara-E-Adabiyat-E-Urdu (Hyderabad), University of Allahabad, Ghalib Academy, Ghalib Institute, Jamia Hamdard (all three from New Delhi), Government Urdu Library (Patna), Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti Urdu, Arabi-Farsi University (Lucknow), Saulat Public Library (Rampur), Darul Musannefin Shibli Academy (Azamgarh) and Rampur Raza Library (Rampur).


Read also: A Hindi-Urdu Mushaira that celebrated togetherness

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Ep8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s life

To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic...

Ep 6: The Indian LGBTQ+ community in 2020

  It’s been two years since the world’s largest democracy repealed the draconian Section 377 which used to allow discrimination against homosexual people. Only this...

Latest News

tim paine sledging r ashwin

Masculinity under pressure

  When men are under pressure, their construct of masculinity is both tested and will be evident. Recent examples of this have been seen in the...

Natarajan: From the dusty fields in Salem to Gabba high

  Pace bowler T Natarajan had all odds stacked against him growing up. His family, led by a father who toiled for daily wages and...
kamala harris

Kamala Harris breaks glass ceiling after three women failed

  Three women tried unsuccessfully to break the glass ceiling to reach the top positions of the US, one as president and two as vice...
Inauguration Day

Trump who? Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Inauguration Day highlights

  In the span of about 120 minutes, between the hours of 10.30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. on Wednesday, the rituals of Joe Biden and...

Memes to celebrate India’s Test series win

  You've watched the legendary match, now peep these hilarious memes. From Pant to Pujara, SCG to the Gabba, and England to Australia, netizens went...