City Libraries – Bedal Library, Sharfabad, Bahadurabad

Had Ghalib found himself in present day Karachi, he probably would have taken refuge in Bedil Library. At a walking distance from Char Minar Chowrangi,the library on second floor of Sharafabad Community hall transports you to a different era when people had different priorities and sensitivities. The library is named after Abdul Qadir Bedil, Persian poet who inspired imagination of not just common people but many Urdu poets including Ghalib. It was perhaps due to Bedil’s popularity in Bihari diaspora that Mohammad Zafeerul Hasan – founder of the library – named it after him when he setup the library in 1974. The library started with book donations that Zafeerul Hasan managed within his circle of friends.

The tradition of donation continues. Some of the shelves display the names of donors while some have preferred to stay anonymous. The collection and donations are mainly are in Urdu language, consisting of both poetry and prose. A section is donated to newspaper archives consisting of Dawn and Jang. Mohammad Zubair – In-charge of the library and the cataloging system himself – is essentially the force keeping it all together.

The library opens at 4pm and closes at 8pm. The staff consists of Zubair sb and two of his assistants. There are two reading rooms on the left side of the library which are used for reading newspaper and books of general interest. There is another reading room on the right side of the library which is primarily used by scholars who frequent the library in order to use reference books and prepare their research papers. Zubair sb has put the names of regular visiting scholars who have recently been awarded a doctorate on one of the walls. There is a huge hall at the back of reading room which has lines of cabinets containing classical work of rekhta including some of periodicals who have disappeared from literary scene. The space has been utilized to the maximum. As Zubair sb shows me around, I see sacks of bags waiting to be opened and cataloged. Zubair sb tells me that they have come in few days ago, donated by a noted literary figure.

The library runs on private funds and can certainly benefit from more of them. I sense that a lot of it has been possible due to Zubair’s ingenuity as he continues to improvise resources at his disposal. Both Zubair and his assistants juggle between two jobs which must be helping library keep its fixed cost lower.


Categories: City Libraries

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3 Comments on “City Libraries – Bedal Library, Sharfabad, Bahadurabad”

  1. March 3, 2018 at 4:46 pm #

    If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t learn about such hidden gems in the city. Thanks!

  2. Azhar
    May 16, 2018 at 10:32 am #

    Eik tareekhi virsa, nazron say ojhal kia is ko Almi urdu mela ke taqreebat ya saqafaty juntree ka hissa nhee hona chahye

  3. Zafar yab
    February 4, 2019 at 7:43 am #

    Zafar yab

    – Libraries stated detoriating in early seventies.When People of Khi began moving overseas for employment etc.
    – In USA,library systems are moving towards digital model with reasonable success.
    – This is a good article about libraries in Khi/thanks . .

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