The book collector: Carrying the legacy forward

Some pieces in Abdul Rasheed’s collection are 600 years old

Abdul Rasheed says maintaining these books is a challenge. PHOTOS: HAFSAH SARFRAZ/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: People often do not find their true calling in their occupations, but in their hobbies. Different people have different hobbies. While some enjoy sports, others spend time listening to music.

Then there are those who are collectors, finding and preserving things, which suit their fancy. They display a real passion and persistence to find these items; and spend plenty of resources, time, and effort in doing so.

Abdul Rasheed epitomises this passion, patience, and perseverance.

Though he works as an agricultural contractor in Haripur, he loves collecting and preserving hidden gems from the past.

A collector of old books and letters, Rasheed displayed his collection at a recent book festival in Islamabad.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, he said that he had displayed only a portion of his collection.

“I have around 2,500 to 3,000 pieces in my collection, some as old as 600 years. The oldest book in my collection is 635 years old,” he said.

A few editions of the Quran on display were written in gold, which were not only unique but also could be considered pieces of art.

Rasheed said that the Mughal Emperor, Aurangzeb had commissioned a copy of the Quran written in gold; and this was precisely what made this collection more valuable.

Rasheed said that collecting was not just his passion but a legacy forwarded to him by his family.

“My family belongs to the Ahmed Shah Barelvi clan and my forefathers came from Hindustan,” he said.

With a rich cultural background, his family had been collecting old gems such as old copies of the Quran, books of Hadith, letters, and stamped postcards from the East India Company.

In his collection of letters, Rasheed had displayed letters written by eminent historical figures to his family.

These included letters from Nizam of Hyderabad and Rani of Jhansi.

He said that maintaining the collection was a challenge.

“I make constant effort to preserve them [books] because I truly understand the value of antiques. I hope my future generations have the vision to preserve them too,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2016.


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