Precious Mumbai University books get ‘Tareekh pe Tareekh’ instead of a new library

The new library was given a start date of March 15, 2022

Chaitali DharamshiUpdated: Saturday, June 04, 2022, 10:50 PM IST
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Mumbai University | File photo

Mumbai: An epic saga of indifference is being written, ironically, at a temple of learning, perhaps to elucidate what apathy means. The question is, at what price to students? There seems no other way to explain why despite the poor condition of books in the Mumbai University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Library, the university has continued to ignore repeated calls from senate members to move these to the new library building at the Kalina campus of the in Mumbai University. Incidentally, the new library and the old one are just a few metres apart.

Since March, the University of Mumbai has allegedly held a ‘Tareekh pe Tareekh’ approach to shifting the books to the newly constructed library. The relocation was previously planned for March 15, 2022, and the calendar pages have been turned thrice since. When this date was past, the move was postponed to April and May, which too have come and gone. The FPJ has learnt that the new building, which also has provisions for a huge library, has been constructed and ready in the Kalina campus for a while now, but no shifting has happened, as it does not have an Occupancy Certificate (OC).

Vaibhav Thorat, a Senate member who raised the issue by writing a letter to the Vice Chancellor of Mumbai University on the subject, also spoke to The Free Press Journal. He said, “It’s ‘Tareekh Pe Tareekh, for MU’s new Library building, a new shifting date every time, nothing progresses after that. The books are in bad condition at the old library.”

The new library was given a start date of March 15, 2022, at the university administration’s first meeting, which was held on the same day. However, nothing happened on this scheduled day except for the setting of a new date - May 31, 2022. Even with the end of the term approaching, the date continues to be in limbo.

There are some rare and extremely old books in the library across various genres, such as the ‘Literary History of Persia’ by Edward Granville Browne, World Drama, etc.

An old-timer recalls how even in 1989, they stumbled upon some beautiful Richmal Crompton editions of the 'William' series in a precarious state, having wandered off while looking for books on literary criticism.

In response to the FPJ’s query, a Mumbai University official said, “Our documentation process is finished, and we will receive our Occupancy Certificate soon. Parts of the library will be moved to the newly constructed library on the Kalina Campus as soon as the OC is received.”

The renovation of the Jawaharlal Nehru Library in the Kalina campus began in 2016 and continued till 2022. In this period, there were three V-Cs and five registrars at the MU. The term of the current Vice Chancellor is also coming to an end. However, the repair work is not yet complete. Roof supports continue to be present in some of the repaired areas, necessitating audits to check the quality of the repairs.

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