When the Government of Telangana announced the decision to change the name of the Osmania University Library to Dr B R Ambedkar Library, many studies bodies, activists, historians and even the family of the Nizam who founded the University wrote to the Vice-Chancellor, Chief Secretary S K Joshi and to Governor ESL Narasimhan of Telangana requesting their intervention and to halt the process.
But their protests have been of no use because the authorities went right ahead and re-named the library yesterday, 17th May Friday. A group of students were holding a silent protest even as Prof Sukhadeo Thorat renamed the library to Bharat Ratna Dr BR Ambedkar library and also inaugurated the research centre.
The Osmania University was established by Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan in 1918. His grandson who is also president of the Nizam Family Welfare Association, Nawab Najaf Ali Khan, submitted a petition to VC of the University and also the Governor stating that the name is being changed without considering the sentiments of the people and that of the founder of the University. He applauded Dr BR Ambedkar and the social reforms brought about by him but demanded that the name of the library remain the same.
Nawab Najaf Ali Khan also shared his apprehensions that if names are changed thus, the history and culture of Hyderabad will be lost.
Osmania University had conferred doctorate degree to Dr Ambedkar and Nawab Mir Osman Ali Khan had also allotted 54-acre land to for the establishment of Milind Maha Vidyalaya in Aurangabad.
Political party members of Socialist Party(India) and the alumni of Osmania from the USA also submitted petitions to the VC and Secretary to Government of Telangana, Education who had supported his full support in halting the process of renaming the University Library.
Many well-wishers felt that there are other issues of students that need to be addressed and name changing was not at all needed.
The student leader of Muslim Students Organisation is said to have welcomed the renaming of the Library. But some women activists of Hyderabad felt that by renaming a Muslim name with that of a Dalit leader’s name the Government is indirectly trying to pitch Muslims against Dalits.
Said one activist on condition of anonymity, “ KCR seems to be following the footsteps of the BJP in changing old names or removing structures built by Muslim rulers. Demolishing the Victoria Zenana Hospital built by the Nizam VI in 1907, wanting to construct another building for the secretariat because the present one is not as per Vaastu, changing the logo of the Osmania University, his silence on several Muslim issues, encounter killings of Muslim youth are all signs that he is not that secular as he wants us to believe.”
And surprisingly there are 2 groups of people here – one who says that “ Had the Nizam been alive, he would not have objected to this name change”; while the other say, “ If Baba Saheb was alive he would never have approved the name changing”.
And as the University authorities did not take heed of the protests or the petitions submitted by the kith of the Nizam and others, Mirza Mohib Baig, the great-grandson of the Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan is said to have that he will move the court of Law to restore the old name.
The Osmania University Library was inaugurated by Dr S Radhakrishnan, the then President of India in 1963.
The library boasts of a collection of over 6 lakh books and over 7,000 manuscripts including the rare palm leaf manuscripts.