Book Title: Libraries in Brihan Mumbai
Author: Dr. Mangala B. Purandare
Publisher: Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai
Year of Publication: 2010
There are more than 80,000 books in this library which was established by Dr. K.M. Munshi the Kulapati of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. There are many rare works in Sanskrit dedicated to literature and 'Dharmashashtra'.
One finds epics in Sanskrit, Four Vedas, Upanishads, 18 Puranas, Smritis, the commentaries on Vedas all the works of the famous Sanskrit scholars like Kalidasa are preserved here.
Works of Ptolemy, Hu-en-Sang, Dhammapadas, Tripitikas and many other works in Prakrit, Pali and Ardhamagadhi are among the rich collections of this library.
Shabdachintamani, a work in Sanskrit, Vaidik Kosh, Abhinav Rajendra Kosh are some of the rare books in this library. Besides these, there are well-known works in Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, Bengali, Ardhamagadhi and in other Indian languages.
Books on Art, Architecture, Sculpture, History of India as well as that of the world, Philosophy (Indian and Western) Logic, Music, travellers' accounts are available here.
One finds very rare works of 16th century on history and Sanskrit. e.g., Malabar and Coromandal by Jones published in 1672 A.D. Another book gives detailed information of weights, measures and coins. It is entitled as Numismana Orientalia. This book is written by Edward Thomas. 'Les Hindus' the book written in French by Tome Premier in the 18th century is found here in a very good condition.
The natural history of animals written by Karl Vohite and Frederick Stheket, published in 1889 is another valuable book preserved here. Magic, the book written by Albert Hopkins in 1897 keeps the readers attracted to this library. Green's Views in India in the Times of Sepoy of Mutiny, a newspaper sized book on 1857 Revolt, published in 1859 is a valuable possession of this library 'Sandhya', the book on daily worship rituals of the Brahmins is written by S.C. Belongs, in 1851 is among the valuables in this library.
G.K. Chesterton's 'Famous paintings' a book of copy of painting of the world is also available for reference in this library, along with many volumes of the Journal of Indian Art, Grammer of Ornaments written in 1910, giving information about the ornaments in India and 'Coins of the Jews published in 1903.
There are books written in Marathi for example Marathi Vishvakosh (Lakshamnashashtri Joshi) Ketkar's Maharashtriya Shabdakosh, BhagvatiMandal a Vishwakosh in Gujarati, Hindi, Sanskrit and Pali dictionaries, Encyclopedia Britanica, Moropant's entire works (1916) Imperial Gazetteers, George Wat's Dictionary of Economic Products of India Published in 1891 A.D. in six volumes, Dr. P.V. Kane's History of Dharmashastra Indian Culture in 10 Volumes, the Cultural Heritage of India, Encyclopedia of Religion ethics in of volumes are in the collection of this library.
Besides these rare books, there are water colour paintings of medieval period. However, the star attraction of this library is its collection of manuscripts. Ancient manuscripts are a cultural treasure of perennial value. The value of a manuscript lies not only in its content but also in its original form and appearance. The external appearance of the manuscript throws light on the chronological status of the manuscript. It bears the strength of original evidence in the disputes of history and helps to settle them finally. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has a collection of 1377 paper manuscripts and 27 palm-leaf manuscripts. These manuscripts pertain to as many as twenty-six subjects in different languages.
There is a manuscript of Mahabharata in the form of a big roll of 30 c.m. diameter and 15 c.m. width. It is written on a very thin paper pasted on a thin cloth. The writing is extremely minute. It cannot be deciphered without the help of a magnifying glass. Along with the text, there are illustrative paintings. To add to the beauty of this work, there appears decorative golden borders on both sides. It is a work of a single hand. Such innovation in calligraphy is rare. This manuscript seems to be from Rajasthan. Descriptive catalogue of manuscripts is available along with subjectwise index, author index and alphabetical index of manuscripts.
There is a separate section for children between the ages 7 and 15. It is named as Vallabhji Ramji Bal Pustakalaya Children can read books and can also play games like chess, Carrom etc.
There is a big reading room in this library, Students, scholars, can use this room by keeping a deposit of Rs. 100/- and a monthly fee of Rs. 20/-.
Reader other than students have to pay monthly fee of Rs. 25/- and a deposit of 100 rupees.
This library is open from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. The library is located at K.M. Munshi Marg, Chowpatty, Mumbai.