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Khuda Bakhsh Khan
--: Biography of Khuda Bakhsh Khan :--

 Khuda Bakhsh Khan 

Khuda Bakhsh Khan was Born in Chapra on 2nd August 1842, Khuda Bakhsh was brought up under the guidance of his father who dedicated his life for the betterment of humanity.


Educated at Patna and Calcutta he started his professional career as Peshkar. In 1880 he was appointed the Government Pleader of Patna and in 1881 the title of Khan Bahadur was conferred upon him for his social service. He was elevated to the post of Chief Justice of Nizam's Court Hyderabad for a period of three years in 1895.

Khuda Baksh Khan was the founder of a “Public library” at Patna, India, which is better known as Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library. He acquired a passion of collecting rare Arabic and Persian manuscripts from his father who left him a collection of 1,400 manuscripts when he died in 1876. 

Khuda Baksh added to his father’s collection, which reached 4,000 manuscripts in 1891, and in the same year he established the library. Incidentally, the first public libraries were established in Britain in 1850. 

The Library has a good collection of rare manuscripts including a page of the Holy Qu’ran on parchment in Kufic script belonging to the 9th century AD. A collection of about forty Sanskrit manuscripts, written on palm leaf, also forms part of the Library’s possessions. 

Currently the Library has a collection of 21,125 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Turkish, Pushto, Sanskrit and Hindi in addition to printed books numbering 250,000 in several languages – Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, English, French, German, Russian and Japanese. 

The government of India through an Act of Parliament, in 1969, declared it as Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library. It has assumed the responsibility of providing funds for its maintenance and development. 

The Library has also undertaken to promote research activities in certain areas, such as Islamic Studies, Arabic, Persian and Urdu literature as well as comparative study of religion, Greek medicine, Tasawwuf, medieval Indian history and culture and national movements. 

Khuda Baksh “was a man of striking personality” and “who has left India richer by a treasure surpassing the gifts of princes and millionaires.” He was rightly named Khuda Baksh ‘the gift of God.’ 


He was also honoured with another title of CIE in 1903. In spite of having all these titles and honours he was a very simple man with determination and vision. The library was his life-long achievement for which he was committed and devoted. He spent whatever he earned on its growth and as a result he was penniless. He had to borrow money for his medical treatment.


The Government of Bengal made him a generous grant of Rs. 8,000 to liquidate his debts. He died on 3rd August 1908 at the age of 66, and was buried in the premises of the Library.


Website of Khuda Bakhsh Oriental Public Library :





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