Reopening of British Library


           From 1960 British Council Library had been operative in Patna in Bank Road.
It became the most sought after place because USIS Library had been burnt down around the same time and Sinha Library, Khuda Baksh Library, Patna University Central Library and Bihar College of Engineering,Patna, had serious shortage of funds as a result of which all the Foreign Journals had been stopped. Only in British Council Library we had the opportunity to read Foreign Magazines like NATURE, New Scientist, PC World and their likes.

Everything was smooth and dandy until July 2001. The membership was continuously rising. All the tables used to be filled up with readers. Any English Learning  Programme was well attended. The only short coming was that not as many students from Patna area were making a beeline for UK Universities.
Because of this shortcoming on 23rd June 2001, a closure notice was issued to the effect that British Library will close down on 31st July 2001.

Almost at the same time Ranchi and Lucknow  British libraries met with the same fate. The reason for closure as cited by Mr.Edmund Marsden, Minister (Cultural Affairs) British High Commission, and Director, The British Council, were :
                                          (i) Low use of Library &
                                          (ii) Inadequate Resources.
           Both these reasons are sophistries.
The first reason of low use is falsified by the fact that Member Form itself had 300 members when there were many more other category members. Total of 1250 plus. Plus British Council is a registered Charity (Registration Number 209131).
The letter of Harriet Bristow, an Official of Charity Commission, has confirmed that British Council is a separately registered Charity and is Autonomous.Charity has been defined as an organization whose aims are for exclusively charitable purposes and providing clear benefits to others in the society.The council is financed partly by a grant from Foreign And Commonwealth Office(FCO).
           FCO for international development has the responsibility for promoting development and reduction of poverty.
           British Council operates in 110 countries and they have the largest network of libraries in India in four Metro Cities(Delhi, Kolkota, Chennai and Mumbai) and eleven state libraries including Patna, Ranchi and Lucknow.

It is clear that British Council is a charity organization committed to disseminate up-to-date information about Science & Technology to the very fringe of civilized society which Patna , Ranchi and Lucknow are.  

           So the argument of lack of resources does not hold  substance.
A Member Forum of 300 students who were at the forefront of struggle was formed. The actual library membership was greater than 1250.
The Forum emphatically asked for justification of the claim after 23rd June2001, but the Library management declined to oblige us.
            On 17th July 2001, a torch light procession was taken out by 300 strong Members Forum from the British Library to Dag Bungalow Chawk and an effigy of Edmund Marsden was burnt at the chawk.
Meanwhile on 16th July 2001 through the Chairman of Members Forum, the Forum filed a case in MUNSIF III Court, Title Suit No. 34/2001.
This Title Suit obtained a STAY ORDER against the dismantling of British Library on 26th July 2007.
Our Case was strong still STAY ORDER was vacated on 10/08/07. and the whole library was dismantled. In the process many good books were lost.
This brings to sad end to the knowledge renaissance which had started in 1960.

our demands :

  • Charity Commission should be made aware of the realities of Patna and the conditions which led to its closure;
  • Charity Commission should see to it that British Council serves its noble aim for which it has been established;
  • Hence charity Commission should ask British Council to reopen British Libraries in Patna, Ranchi and Lucknow.

List of effort made by people of Patna

    • Closure letter
    • Letter to British Library by Members Forum
    • Response by Commission by mail to Mr. Akhilesh  shahi
    • Response by commission to Dr. B.K. Sharma
    • Letter to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi
    • News published in media


BiharBrains Joins Hands with Bihar Foundation: News on Patna Daily on Nov 8,2007

Patna Daily Link

BiharBrains Joins Hands with Bihar Foundation

Patna: Nov. 8, 2007

A delegation of Bihar Brains Development Society, a registered entity of academicians and scientists of Bihar living in India and abroad, met with a delegation of UK-based Bihar Foundation in Patna on Wednesday to discuss strategies for the development of Bihar, particularly in the field of education and health.

The meeting was hosted by Dr. Rajay Narain, general secretary Bihar Foundation, at his residence at Arya Kumar Road in Patna.

The meeting was presided over by Dr. Murali Sinha, President, Bihar Foundation, while Dr. B. K. Sharma, President, BiharBrains, represented his organization. Among others who were present on the occasion included Dr. S. P. Verma, promoter Bihar Brains and the former Head of the Department, Physics, Patna Science College, S. N. Sandhwar, Manager operations, of the BiharBrains and the former AGM, State Bank of India, Patna.

Besides holding discussions on various projects, the office-bearers also discussed their desire to bring back the British Council Library in Patna that wounded up its operation in the lack of adequate membership and poor management nearly six years ago.

Attempts would be made to contact the British High Commission to discuss the possibility of bringing back the library again in Patna, Dr. Sharma said.

Bid to reopen British Council library: News on Times of India on Nov 14,2007

  BiharBrains Development Society: News on Hindustan Times on Nov 14,2007

  British Library ko wapas lane ka prayas hoga: News on Dainik Jagran on Jan 14,2007

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