Mhow: Residents, who were fighting for restoration of Parsi library and to save land adjoining it from going into the hands of businessman, have heaved a sigh of relief since both administration and Army have extended their support to them.
The residents had formed a group to run a signature campaign and stage protests for the library and the land adjacent to it. They had also registered complaints at CM Helpline, Army headquarters and Defence Estates director.
Acting on the complaint filed at CM Helpline SDM Pratul Sinha wrote a letter to the Mhow police to take legal action in the matter. Also, Defence Estates Officer (DEO) put a signboard at the library indicating that the property belongs to Ministry of Defence as it falls under B-2 category and the person involved in encroachment or misuse of the said land will be penalised. The move of administration and Army has boosted up the morale of the group.
Parsi library is 225-year-old. On request of Parsi Anjuman Trust the then British military administration had given a piece of land, which is presently near Dreamland Talkies, to it on lease to run a library for people of Mhow. The lease of the land expired in late 1970s. Thereafter, Army took over the land and building because it is not being used for the library purpose, said sources in the Army.
As per the sources, taking advantage of the closure of the library, a group of businessmen got united to grab the piece of land. They allegedly wanted to construct a grand mall on it.
Once Parsi library used to be a rich centre of knowledge sharing and reading
Parsi library used to be a rich centre of knowledge sharing and reading. It was fully functional till late 1970s and then the trust was forced to close it in lack of manpower needed to run it. Dignitaries like Field Marshal SHFJ Manekshaw often visited it. “The library had all kinds of books when it was functional. Of them many were in Gujarati language since it was community of the Parsis after their settlement in India. Many books were donated by British officials during their posting in Mhow. They used to write their name and sign on the first blank page of the book along with date of donation. It also had books on classical English poetry, which are not found anywhere in India,” a member of Parsi community Bobby Masalawala told TOI.