Hundreds of sure-fire cures for various ailments are facing a slow death. The Unani remedies contained in ancient manuscripts are providing a royal repast to termites at the Government Nizamia Tibbi College, Charminar in Hyderabad.

Like the heritage structure which houses the college, there is none to take care of the priceless books and manuscripts dating back to 16th and 17th century. The college library has 12,000 rare books and 539 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Urdu languages. Unfortunately majority of them are in shreds – literally. They contain more holes than a sieve. Over the years they were left unattended with the result the pages have turned so brittle that they come apart when touched.

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The 300-year-old Sherh-Al-Qanoon (Canon of Medicine) written by Bu Ali Sina is a classic case of official apathy. Same is the case with Jamia-ul-Hikmat, the famous book of Unani general medicine. Kitab Fitib Dar Murakabat and Tibbe Akbar are also beyond repair. “They are in urgent need of lamination. But we have no budget or the expertise”, says Mohd Sirajullah Khan, librarian.

The congested library has more than 200 medical lexicons in Arabic and Persian. And their condition is no better either. Dictionaries like Muntahul Arab, Ghyasul Loghat and Khazinutul Loghat are facing slow decay.

Thanks to the Dubai based Juma Al Majid Centre for Culture and Heritage some of the books were given chemical treatment and preserved. Under the National Mission of Manuscripts the Salarjung Museum also took up the preservation work. But for want of budget the work is stopped.

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The Nizamia college attracts research scholars from all over the country. But they go back disappointed as the books here are not in a position to be referred.

College authorities fear many time tested formulations will be lost for posterity if the manuscripts are not preserved at the earliest. #KhabarLive



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