Arab Today, arab today nepal quake leaves old library in ruins
Last Updated : GMT 09:11:28
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Nepal quake leaves old library in ruins

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Nepal quake leaves old library in ruins

Magnificent library in Kathmandu
Kathmandu - AFP

Janaki Karmacharya sits on a plastic chair under the tarpaulin that now serves as her office and despairs at the wreckage of her once magnificent library in the heart of Kathmandu.

Until last month's earthquake, the Kaiser Library buzzed with Nepali students, intellectuals and tourists attracted by its collection of rare books, maps and ancient manuscripts -- all housed in an opulent former palace.

Now wooden bookcases lie smashed on the floor of the 120-year-old building, which was gifted to the nation by the Rana dynasty that ruled Nepal for more than a century before losing power in 1951.

The library was closed on April 25 when the quake struck, and Karmacharya said it was two days before she plucked up the courage to go and see the destruction.

"I was speechless for a while... it was hard to believe the extent of the damage," the 58-year-old chief librarian told Agence France Presse as she surveyed the impact of the 7.8-magnitude quake, which killed more than 7,800 people.

"I cried when I got came back home, I couldn't help myself. The books are like my children, and I love them very much.

"Thank God it was a Saturday and there were no readers inside."

Karmacharya estimates that the quake damaged around a third of the 28,000 books in the Kaiser Library.

They were the collection of Kaiser Shumsher, a scion of the Rana family who travelled to England in 1908 and fell in love with the grand houses and their private libraries.

When he returned to Nepal he decided to build his own in his palace in central Kathmandu.

Inside the building, antique statues lie in pieces on the floor and stuffed animal heads and portraits of Nepal's former rulers in full military dress hang precariously on severely cracked walls.

In one room are the fragments of a suit of armour smashed to pieces in the quake; in another, a stuffed Bengal tiger and a huge bearskin rug, the head and paws still attached.

Books in the English section -- many of which Shumsher brought back from his visit to England -- include John Buchan's adventure classics and such titles as "The Big Game of Asia".

- 'A huge loss' -

But the library is more than an eccentric throwback to a bygone era in Nepal, a feudal Hindu kingdom until just seven years ago when the monarchy was abolished following a Maoist revolution.

It also houses rare South Asian manuscripts on Buddhism, Tantrism and astrology, some so old they are written on palm-leaves.

They include a 1,100-year-old copy of the Susrutasamhita, an ancient Sanskrit text on medicine, which is listed in UNESCO's Memory of the World International Register.

"The damage in the Kaiser library is a huge loss to us as it was not only a home for books but an archive of invaluable historic scripts of archaeological importance," said Labha Dev Awasthi, joint secretary at Nepal's education ministry.

"We are concerned about the security of the books, paintings and other antique items that were kept in the library."

Awasthi said the ministry was urgently seeking somewhere safe to store the valuable contents of the building, which is so badly damaged that staff have been advised not to enter.

With frequent aftershocks still rocking Nepal's capital and the monsoon rains just weeks away, that task now appears urgent.

An official notice pinned to the door states that the structure is unsafe, and many of the old beams and pillars are broken.

"There are lots of cracks and aftershocks happen every day so this building isn't safe anymore," said Karmacharya, who now meets with her staff every day under a tarpaulin in the library's tree-filled garden near the former royal palace.

"It will be a really big challenge for us to manage the library and move the books somewhere else. But we are concerned about the safety of these books."

The government said the building would also be restored eventually, although it may be resurrected as an art gallery rather than a library.

For freelance journalist and 26-year-old Kathmandu resident Ayush Niroula, who used to read there as a student, that would be a shame.

"There are not a lot of libraries here in Kathmandu and on top of that it's a really beautiful place to read," he told AFP.

"They can transfer the books somewhere else, but it has a vibe of its own."

 

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today nepal quake leaves old library in ruins Arab Today, arab today nepal quake leaves old library in ruins

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'

GMT 11:59 2017 Friday ,24 March

Jordan airline suggests flyers 'talk'
Arab Today, arab today 5 Crafty Must-Have Limited-Budget Ideas

GMT 17:03 2017 Saturday ,25 March

5 Crafty Must-Have Limited-Budget Ideas
Arab Today, arab today Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes

GMT 08:35 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Dozens dead in US-led Syria strikes
Arab Today, arab today Former head of Egypt’s syndicate submits appeal

GMT 20:11 2017 Saturday ,25 March

Former head of Egypt’s syndicate submits appeal
View News in Arabic - Culture: في المكتبات
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Yemen children dream of school

GMT 07:25 2017 Friday ,24 March

Yemen children dream of school
Arab Today, arab today MP submits a petition to dismiss university head

GMT 06:21 2017 Friday ,24 March

MP submits a petition to dismiss university head
Arab Today, arab today Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry

GMT 04:51 2017 Friday ,24 March

Salvage of South Korea's Sewol ferry
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful

GMT 13:38 2017 Monday ,06 March

Prepares to give stargazers an eyeful
Arab Today, arab today Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design

GMT 13:22 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Audi RS 5 Coupe acquires new design
Arab Today, arab today Renault Trezor wins design award

GMT 11:56 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Renault Trezor wins design award
Arab Today, arab today Actress Mervat Amin reveals her role in new series
Arab Today, arab today 2017 already marked

GMT 15:25 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

2017 already marked

GMT 06:04 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Haifa Wahby bets on her new drama show

GMT 22:00 2017 Thursday ,23 March

Number of unwedded girls amounts to 2.5m

GMT 18:57 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Accessories designer reveals her new collection

GMT 10:34 2017 Tuesday ,21 March

Mexico threatens to ditch US corn imports

GMT 13:26 2017 Friday ,24 February

Expresses Algerian history by woody figures

GMT 15:06 2017 Saturday ,25 March

Dialysis Supplies Dwindle for Syrians

GMT 07:36 2017 Wednesday ,22 March

US, Britain ban laptops on flights

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 19:27 2017 Saturday ,11 March

Boualsof launches "Priestess Kahina" collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday