If one is searching frantically to lay his hands for a book of Bible, Vedas and Upanishads in one place, and turn up empty handed, a ‘mosque’ in Baga Bazaar in Dholai under Cachar District of Assam, is the right place to get, all of these.
Yes, you heard it right. It is an initiative by the Head of English Department of Madhav Chandra Das College of Sonai and secretary of Baga Bazaar Jame Masjid, Sabbir Ahmed Choudhury. He started a library in this mosque around 2013 and this library has become the cynosure of all eyes today. The library inside this mosque houses more than 300 books collected from various book fairs and stalls.
Interestingly though, not just one can learn about Islam or Quran out here, but anybody can lay his hands on books on Hinduism, Christianity and other religious verses with equal respect and sanctity. Books by Rabindra Nath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee and books on Swami Vivekananda, or Ram Krishna Paramhansa, adorn this library.
Speaking to Northeast Now, Sabbir Ahmed Choudhury said, “With donations from only two to three persons five years back, now we are getting a steady flow of money from various other intellectuals who are supporting this initiative of ours. I had to take permission from 36 other governing body members of this mosque, before starting this library.”
“My initial idea was to bring in as many readers out here and develop the habit of reading. Later as books kept piling up, all books of various religions, culture and literature, too decked up,” Choudhury said.
He also said that he was influenced to have books of all religions inside this mosque came up after reading a book by Manavendra Rai, wherein the author wrote that even after living for centuries together, Hindus & Muslims do not want to learn about each other’s culture, traditions, and ways of life. This touched him deeply and guided him to set up of this library.
Hopefully, Choudhury believes that this library in Baga Bazaar on the edge of Assam – Mizoram border in Cachar district, to some extent, some day can act as a bridge between Muslims and Hindus alike.