Dairatul Ma’arif-Al-Osmania

A Classic Treasure House
At the outset, it is essential to know the name of Dairatul Maarifil Osmania on its inception during the year 1888 and the changes made lateron.
Dairatul Ma’arifil Nizamia
Dairatul Maarifil Nizamia was named after Nizam, as it was the family name of the ruling dynasty. This suffix was replaced by Al-Osmania somewhere during 1923 –1925, after the name of the Seventh Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan. A matter of high consternation is that some books which were published in twenties are void of any suffixes and the name appeared as Dairatul Maarif.

Oriental Research & Publication Bureau
This is approximately a free translation of Dairatul Ma’arif because the word “Daira” according to Arabic modern dictionary, compiled by John Wehr, printed in Germany,
Dairatul-Ma’arifil Osmania is more often abbreviated as D.M.O. and sometimes the “Osmania University” is added to Dairatul Ma’arif.
Background of the Incorporation
Before turning to the incorporation of Daira, it will not be desultory to mention the mouth – to- mouth story, showing how the idea of Daira was cultivated in the minds of a select band of oriental scholars, the prominent of them was Maulana Anwarullah Khan. It is orally narrated that the above scholar sent his servant to bring some dates from the market to hospitalize a guest lodged in his house. To his surprise, he found that the food substance was wrapped in a paper, torn out from the famous Hadith manuscript Kanzul-Ummal. Without any delay, he discussed the issue with likeminded scholars and they made up their minds to put an end to the recurrence of such malafide incident. Thus, this incident proved a reason for the incorporation of Daira. Although it may not be construed an authentic story, but it is not totally putative one. Anyhow, there could have been so many strong reasons that contributed to bring Daira into existence, and the above mentioned story would have been one of them. The Elite Trio, which contributed to the establishment of Daira, was spearheaded by Mulla Abdul Qayyum who was a well-known academician and an able administrator. Nawab Imadul Mulk Syed Hussain Bilgrami, who was Education Secretary in Government of Nizam also played a vital role in the formation of Daira . The above unprecedented incident was reported to Nawab Mir Mahboob Ali khan Nizam The Sixth, along with the proposal of establishing a research center to eradicate the possibility of ruining the precious collections of old manuscripts particularly in Arabic language. This report was very grimly considered in the royal court and basically the establishment of proposed centre was endorsed.
Optimistic Coincidences
There are ample historic evidences that Dairatul-Ma’arif started its functioning sometimes during the year 1888. It will be synonymous to stab in darkness to ascribe the inaugural function to any specific day or month. All the available data sources are silent about any such thing and about the dignitaries who attended this inaugural function. But it will not be an erroneous presumption that the main ensign-bearers of this movement along with frontline Muslim clerics would have necessarily attended this inauguration. Even the logical conclusion supports such a thing that Jamia Nizamia was established just a decade before the establishment of Daira and therefore it is a common notion that Dairatul-Ma’arifil Osmania was established to absorb the fresh graduates of Jamia Nizamia.

The prominent teaching staff of Jamia Nizamia, inclusive of a good number of famous religious scholars participated in the inaugural function of such an institute, which was established to disseminate the knowledge as stated earlier. Daira was established in 1888. It is a very stupendous coincidence that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad the Union Education Minister who was producing the pearls and gems in his literary writings and speeches, was born in the same year.
The other very peculiar coincidence is that the famous Diamond manufacturing company “Debars” was established in the same year.

The common hallmark of these three institutions is that all of them were engaged in pearls business. yes! one should not be suspicious about that the books of Daira are regarded by the knowledge-lovers as precious stones, and perchance half a dozen of Daira publications have been named as pearls, gems and precious stones such as Al-Durara Al Kamina “The hidden pearls” Nazmud-Durar “The pearls string” Al-Jouhar-Al-Naqi “The pure gem” Al-Jawahirul-Mudhiyah “The luminous Gems” Al-Jawharatul Munifah “The stately Gems” and Kitabul Fusus “The Book of stones”.

In view of this clear-cut and irrefutable fact, the core business of Daira rotates around the famous precious stones. It will not be desultory to add that the majority of Arabic pen-works were named after precious stones such as pearls, corals, rubies and jades. It will be interesting to note that even Daira, during its century journey, published a book about the identification of Gems, named as “Al–Jamahir–Fi–Marifatil Jawahir “The book gives guide lines for the identification of Gems” This fantastic book was compiled by Abu Raihan Al Beruni. He is the author of the Kitabul Hind. Mr. Adnan Jauher Jee. “The jeweller” A native of Damascus, visited Daira particularly to get the above book.
Dr D.S.Reddy, the former VICE CHANCELLOR of Osmania University, addressing a reception function in the premises of Daira, appreciated the commendable services of Daira saying “Daira is picking out the pearls from the ocean of knowledge and cognizance” All these establish very categorically that Daira is very closely linked with the business of pearls on par with Moulana Abul Kalam Azad and Debears Company .
Location of Daira
Whereas the old city of Hyderabad at that time was thronged with renowned Muslim clerics and dignitaries, it was preferred to house Dairatul Ma’arif in the old city. Thus Dairatul Ma’arif started its functioning on the date, mentioned supra, in a moderate building, situated in Shahgunj, just few yards from the entrance to this locality at Charminar-old bridge road. It is very distressing to mention that this building, for the time being, has been very cleverly occupied by the Rajisthani Samaj who runs in its premises a school of primary level. Now a legal tussle is going on between Dairatul Maarif officials and Jamia Nizamia administrators as who is the original owner of the said building?
An old number of “Jamia Osmania” journal, in one of its issues, discloses that Dairatul Ma’arif was shifted lateron in some building situated at Nizam Shahi Road. The journal is unable to pinpoint the location of such a building. Even those who were closely associated with Daira are reported to be inconversant with this fact. Any how, before having walked over to the present permanent building, we find our immediate neighbour “Efl University” and Sanskrit Academy, on right and left direction respectively, on Jamia Osmania railway station-Tarnaka road. During the sixties, Dairatul Ma’arif was shifted most likely from Nizam Shahi road to an old building, situated behind Landscape garden in extreme East near the Livestock Farm which had no transport linkage from the main road. As such, it caused a lot of problems to the staff in to and fro passage to Daira. So the need to build its own centre in the middle of Osmania University Campus came as pressing need, which appeared in beautiful configuration of the present D.M.O. building, representing a classic Islamic architecture, chalked out by the famous architect Late Mohammed Fayazuddin Nizami who had the honour of being an important member of Haram-e-Madani Extension Committee K.S.A; The building was inaugurated by Humayun Kabeer, the Personal Secretary of Moulana Abul Kalam Azad-the erstwhile Union Minister For Education of Indian Government, and this was on 1st Feb ,1960 .

The Constitution of the Daira was revised in 1953 at the instance of the then Education Secretary. As a result, it is managed by an executive committee and its academic side is governed by a Literary Committee, over both of which the Vice–Chancellor, Osmania University, presides. The Daira had its own corpus, from the interest of which it was financed, but it is now subsidized by the Governments of India and Andhra Pradesh and the Osmania University, It is an autonomous body “associated” with the University and its Executive Committee has full administrative and financial powers, just as its Literary Committee has full academic powers. The Executive Committee comprises seven members, headed by the Hon’ble Ex-Officio the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and the Vice-Chancellor of Osmania University. The Vice-Chancellor is construed to be the Vice-President and other members represent the State Government and the Central Government inclusive of Director and Secretary of Daira who is bound to take the prior approval of Vice-Chancellor in any administrative procedure and financial reimbursement. As far as the Literary Committee is concerned, it is constituted of some “VIPs” who are well–connected with Arabic Arts and Sciences. This Council too has seven members, headed by the Chief of Executive Committee. The Director of Daira is regarded the Secretary of Literary Committee. Therefore his full post is named as “Director and Secretary”. It is noteworthy that every head of the department holds a membership in the Literary Committee Ex-officio and may hold at the discretion of Vice-Chancellor the reins of Dairatul Ma’arif as Director and Secretary. There is also an Advisory Committee who is responsible for producing the tips and proposals, which may help Daira in the achievement of its noble objectives, and under the umbrella of which whole academic and administrative businesses run very smoothly. It consists of local and foreign super branded brains. The German based Dr. Salim Karanko is one of them. He had been associated with Daira very closely for over three decades, during which he brought Daira closer and closer to the foreign countries and contributed to the cardinal works of Daira. His elucidatory notes are found in many a publication of Diara. It will be an addition to the knowledge of the beloved readers that Daira has its own constitution, with all main and sub articles in a shape of a moderate sized book, published before half a century earlier. It has covered different administrative sections of Daira and its constitutional umbrella. It deserves mention that the whole panorama has gone into a swift change during 1996 when a New Government at Centre declared to disown Dairatul Ma’arif. Therefore it is observed that the title of the publications which sometimes was exhibiting the line “under the auspices of Ministry of Human Resources Development New Delhi” has been replaced with “under the auspices of Minorities Welfare Ministry. Govt of Andhra Pradesh Hyderabad” and the annual adhoc grant which was coming from Centre to Daira is discontinued and whole financial burden is borne by the above-mentioned Ministry, Government of Andhra Pradesh.

A New Idea
In view of the financial upheaval, faced by Daira during its academic journey, stretched over one century plus, presently it has been propounded by some Academic Circles that Daira should be brought under the financial and administrative umbrella of Central Government on par with Salar Jung Museum Hyderabad.
Cluster of Similarities
Having a close look on the basic structure and functional pattern of Salar Jung Museum along with its Manuscripts Library, any one can conclude very easily that there is a cluster of similarities between D.M.O. & S.J.M. with special reference to its Library. But it is also a very lucid fact that the nature of work draws a clear line of demarcation between both.
Actually the work of SJM on the Manuscripts is confined to find out the title, name of the Author or Compiler, determination of the age of the Manuscript and other chronological data, giving a brief description of some special features of the Manuscript such as the number of lines and pages, the kind of script, the possessors’ names and the last destination etc. while the Scholars of Daira have to penetrate the heart of the Manuscript. It is undoubtedly a work of prime importance, not superficial by any angle. They search out all the available copies of a certain title and note down the differences, found in each copy. Apart from this, they trace out every Hadith of the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) and every saying of the Companions and their followers. They consult each and every book of the kindred subject. They elucidate every ambiguous word, decipher the most sophisticated classic contents, and give reference to every peculiar incident, The work of Daira, as such, is implicitly superior by any parameter, stipulated thereto.

It is quite obvious that S.J.M. is basically divided into two units. One is library which deals with the research work and the other is the complex of exhibits, which are displayed to the common visitors. On the same line, Daira has two wings. One is the Research Wing, manned by well-qualified scholars who are busy with research work with all their professional acumen and expertise. The other is the complex of labour wings, comprising the compose, printing, binding and publication store.

Moreover, the administrative setup of both D.M.O. and S.J.M. is identical, running on the parallel lines under the control of a Director who is supposed to be accountable to his high officials. In case, Daira is brought under the financial patronage of Central Govt., the present setup easily be shifted to a Board of Directors, or to any Statutory Body, which may be created, established and controlled by the Centre provided that such a change may not hurt the letter and sprit of the constitution of Daira.

In this concern, it is worth mentioning that the initial articles of the constitution, which speak about the cardinal objects of Daira, are rigid ones, and should not accept any alteration or amendment. On the contrary, the other administrative articles are quite flexible, and they may be replaced by some others in the broader interest of Daira and its work force. Therefore, the conservation of constitution must not come in the way of Daira’s better future through its recognition as the institution of international or national importance.

The Most Crucial Point
Daira has every strong reason to be declared as an institution of international importance, or at least, national importance, Just on par with S.J.M. The declaration shall boost the pace of Daira, which is slowed down a little during past a decade due to financial crisis, It will also magnify the prestige of India in the eyes of petrol producing Gulf Countries, which have been maintaining a very close amicable relations with India despite all the negative campaign, launched by some hostile section of people on behest of their masters. Thus Daira can play a constructive role in making the Indian Foreign Diplomacy a grand success.

Further, the man power of Daira, who have suffered the heat and dust of financial paucity, may get a lucrative chance to heave a sigh of relief under the financial umbrella of Central Govt, and according to Persian proverb “A happy-hearted labour works more”.

Let the Dream of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Come True!
As we have mentioned not far away that the Daira and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, whose birth day is still celebrated throughout India as Education Day as a symbol of respect and homage to the departed Indian Leader, both got their births in the same year. It is an unique and charismatic coincidence. Please add to it the fact, which has no iota of doubt, that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was much concerned about Daira. While triggering his tenacious memories about his occidental trip during early fifties, he writes in the visitors Book of Daira as follows:

“Past year when I was in Europe, all the literary and academic circles in London, Pares, Rome, Geneva and other places, raised to me their questions about the future of Daira and I, on my part, assured them that we would not only maintain this institution as usual, but also extend the sphere of its services. I am confident that the Govt. may be patronizing it, and its aims and objects may not receive any setback due to financial shortage”.

It is not only the European circles which drew the attention of Azad to Daira, particularly in regard of its financial stability, but even indigenously he was being pressurized by the dignitaries to set Daira on safe financial track to guarantee its smooth functioning despite all the hard winds that may blow out its identity or entity during the murky future. In this context, the writing of Dr. Syed Mahmood, erstwhile Minister of External Affairs, Govt. Of India is quoted below which reads as follows:

“I am sure that Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Education Minister of Govt. of India, will enable this institution to render greater service by increasing its financial subsidy substantially”.
It methinks that India, our beloved Country, while sets her strides on the endless celestial heights, it will be quite ripe time for her to fulfill the much coveted dream of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and come gleefully forward to bring Daira under her financial canopy.

Daira is not Lagging behind in Dissemination of Knowledge
Daira since its inception, kept itself in the front line of knowledge – disseminators. Daira has already achieved this noble target on a very bright note. So far it has brought to daylight what would be more than eight hundred volumes, running into lacs of pages, and consisting of multi-coloured subjects such as exegesis of Holy Quran, Tradition and Principles, the Narrative-Lines, Philology, Philosophy, Metaphysics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Optics, Cosmography, Water Divination, Precious Stones, Metrology, Agriculture, Medicine and Surgery and what not. These publications have astonishing responses from every nook and corner of the globe, as you can appreciate from their precious impressions, to be mentioned ahead. This dissemination of knowledge is still going on in full swing. At this Juncture, the million-dollar question is whether any type of dissemination of knowledge could be better than it?