The privately-owned Markaz Public Library in the Hojai district of Central Assam is a living example of Indian's inclusive culture. The name may allude to its Islamic origins, but it has a collection of books on Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism. Its collection comprises Quran, Vishnu Purana, Bhagwat Gita, Kalita Puran, Shiva Puran, Ramayana, Mahabharata, ancient Vedas, Upanishad, Naam Gosha, Kirtan Gosha, Guru Granth Sahib, Bible, et al.
Speaking with Awaz-the voice, Khalilur Rahman, general secretary of the NGO Markazul Ma-Arif that runs the library, said: “Markaz Public Library is not only the oldest library in Hojai but also the largest private-sector library in the Northeast. That is the reason for book lovers from across the state and different parts of the country visit it. Most of the young visitors are seen studying the books of other religions. At least 30 percent of visitors come exclusively for studying holy books. I think this habit of studying others’ religions will remove the hatred from our society.”
The Markaz Public library
The library was established in 1982 on the initiative of Maulana Abdul Jalil Raghbir, a former MLA of Jamunamukh. Member of Parliament from Dhubri MP Maulana Badruddin Ajmal is also a patron of the library.
The library is conveniently located close to the railway station and bus terminus.
Rahman said, "Initially, there were about 2500 books and now it has 16,500. The huge collection of books, stacked neatly on the shelves, attracts students, intellectuals, and others. At present, about 200 readers can read at a time in the library.”
Rahman said, "The Markaz Public Library is a unique platform for students and those seeking knowledge. The library also has a collection of Encyclopaedia Britannica, books on literature, history, geography, political science, agriculture, environment, and n English, Arabic, Assamese, Urdu, Bengali languages.