A commemorative postage stamp on the Centenary of the Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library (HMPL), oldest public library of Delhi :
Issued by India
Issued on Dec 26, 2016
Issued for : Department of Posts is pleased to release a Commemorative Postage Stamp on “Hardayal Municipal Heritage Public Library”.
Stamp / FDC / Brochure / Cancellation Cachet : Smt. Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi Colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 301590
Printing Process : Wet Offset
Printer : Security Printing Press, Hyderabad
- Situated in the heart of Chandni Chowk, Hardayal Municipal Public Library (HMPL) is one of the very few oldest buildings that have been able to withstand the onslaught of modern times. This is the oldest public library of Delhi, named after the great revolutionary and freedom fighter Lala Hardayal, who was a resident of Old Delhi.
- The library was set up in 1862, as part of reading club meant for the British. Englishmen coming to India used to carry a lot of books with them to read in the several month long sea journey. These books were given to the reading room called the Institute Library, which was a part of the Lawrence Institute, named after the then Viceroy of India. The building was built between 1861 and 1866. Today the building is called the Town Hall and houses the offices of the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi.
- In 1902, the Library was renamed as the Delhi Public Library and shifted to the small Kaccha Bagh building with a staff of one Librarian, one clerk, one peon. It wasn’t enough to accommodate its readers.
- On 23rd December 1912, a bomb was hurled at Lord Hardinge while he was going on an elephant in a procession through Company Bagh, (Now known as Gandhi Maidan) but he escaped unharmed. To commemorate Hardinge’s escape, a committee was formed soon after to construct a building for the Delhi Public Library under the President-ship of Rai Bahadur Lala Sheo Prasad. The committee is said to have collected Rs. 70,000/-, Khan Sahib Haji Baksh Elahi donated Rs. 14,000/-, the Maharaja of Kashmir Rs. 10,000/-, and there were various other donors. The Library was renamed as Hardinge Municipal Public Library in 1916 when it shifted to the new building with its old collection and furniture.
- The name ‘Hardinge Municipal Public Library’ was further shortened as Hardinge Library in 1942 consequent upon an agreement between the Library and the erstwhile Municipal Committee which gave the Library the status of an autonomous body with 100% grant-in-aid from Municipal Corporation. In 1970 Hardinge Library become Hardayal Municipal Public Library.
- The governance of the Library vests in a Governing body called the Managing Committee. The Mayor of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation is the ex-officio-President of the Managing Committee of the Library. There are six elected sitting members of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and one each from south & east DMC, nominated by it to the Managing Committee. Four persons elected by the subscribers of the Library.
- There are about 3123 Gazettes of India & Delhi Gazettes: those are quite useful for Govt. notifications since 1917 to 1998 and ten years five newspapers i.e. 1) Times of India, 2) The Hindustan Times, 3) Nav Bharat Times (Hindi), 4) Hindustan (Hindi), 5) Jansatta.
- The library décor is antique with ancient book shelves and almirahs. It has a unique collection of more than 1,70,000 books in Hindi, English, Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Sanskrit. This is one of the few Libraries in the world with a collection of at least 8,000 rare books. The oldest book in the library is block-printed. Some of the oldest books are “A Relation of Some years, by Travaile Begvenne, 1634”, “History of the World, by Sir Walter Raleigh, (1676 to 1677)”, “Mahabharata” in Persian written by Abul Fazal Faizi etc.
- Text : Based on the material received from proponent.