Da’iratu’l Ma’arif-il-Osmania (Osmania Oriental Publications Bureau) is in the midst of a controversy with the termination of services of four sub-editors and allegations of embezzlement of crores of rupees released under the ‘Hamari Dharohar’ scheme of the ministry of minority affairs.
Dairatul Ma’arifil Osmania, established in 1888, is a treasure trove of rare manuscripts and books and is globally acclaimed.
The employees whose services were terminated had approached the High Court asking it to issue writ orders or directions to the institution to consider their request of regularising their services.
The court, while disposing of the writ (WP No. 3,290 of 2010) on December 13, 2018, directed the respondents to consider the case of the petitioners for regularisation of their services and pass appropriate orders, in accordance with law, within a period of four weeks.
Director of the institution, Dr Mehjabeen Akhter, not only rejected the plea, but simultaneously issued termination notice on January 10, 2019, citing financial crisis and no substantial work to allocate to them as reasons for their termination. Then, surprisingly, on the very next day, she issued and published a notification in an Urdu daily, inviting application for eight posts of sub-editors.
The Centre had launched Hamari Dharohar, a scheme to preserve the heritage of minority communities of India under the concept of Indian culture. Telangana was the second state after Gujarat to get this prestigious project.
The Centre sanctioned Rs 37.71 crore for modernisation, digitisation, translation and re-printing of classic books available at Da’iratu’l Ma’arif-il-Osmania, over a period of five years.
The institute claimed on its website last year that during the tenure of the present director, eight classical Arabic books were translated into English and 25 Arabic books were reprinted. But these were not displayed in the institution, nor available for purchase. When scholars complained, the institution closed its website.
It was alleged that the director had claimed bills on already printed books; she had included her name and changed the title pages, prologues and epilogues of the books to show that the work was done freshly under Hamari Dharohar. The institution claimed that the funding under this scheme for the books ‘Tafseer Al Multaqat Volume I’, ‘Kitab ul-Asl Volume III’, ‘Al-Muqaffa Al-Kabir Volume VI’, ‘Kitab’ul-Muhabbar’, ‘Nazmu’d-dirar fi tanasub’il ayati wa’s-suwar Volume XII’, ‘Nuzhatu’l Khawatir Volume VI’ and ‘Nuzhatu’l Khawatir Volume VII’. It is alleged that she even submitted books that were printed using outdated techniques.
Dr Mohammed Iqbal Mukarram, a scholar, has demanded a high-level inquiry into the affairs of the institution and the autocratic attitude of its director.
He said that the director had terminated the services of employees who had served many years in the institution on the grounds of shortage of funds and lack of work, but at the same time she is inviting applications for double the number of posts. #KhabarLive