International and Comparative Librarianship

S. R. Ranganathan, P. N. Kaula, R. N. Sharma, J. F. Harvey, D. J. Foskett, J. P. Danton, M. M. Jackson, etc.
This Blogosphere has a slant towards India [a.k.a Indica, Indo, South-Asian, Oriental, Bharat, Hindustan, Asian-Indian (not American Indian)].

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Indo-American Librarian Series - Dr. Murarilal Nagar

extracts from : A Sanskrit Librarian Comes To America, By Dr. Murarilal Nagar, 1999.

But when the same librarian serves in a foreign land, his mission is unique and multifold. In addition to all the noble causes that inspire a librarian to serve his readers, he strives for and achieves much more.”(p. 5)

Ranganathan and I worked together closely for about six years. However, there was no regular or rigorous training in English language and literature. There was no schooling in English grammar. So there was no scope for any improvement or refinement....

For example, once Dr. Ranganathan wrote a book. He said, "I want to send this to (a friend in London) to be rendered into English."
I asked him, "What do you mean, Rao Sahab? You have already written it in English."
He remarked, "It's not English."
A Sanskrit Librarian Comes To America 5
I said, "If what you write is not English, then what about me?”
"You write horrible!" he replied. ...

One of the main reasons there is no immediate development of libraries in India, is the fact that the librarians do not form a coalition with other forces fighting for the same causes, viz. dispersion of knowledge, removal of ignorance, and the advancement of learning. These forces are the educators, book-publishers and sellers of books.(p. 18)

NB. Mohamed:
"A publication entitled Wheat Loan Messenger contains quite a lot of information desired by you on your current subject of research, reading and writing—my three R’s. Of course I edited it. A copy is preserved in the rare book room of the Library of the University of Missouri at Columbia . Of course, it cannot be borrowed, but you may be able to get a Xerox print." MLN

For more please write to us:
Om Shanti Mandiram, 1405 St. Christopher
Columbia MO 65203-2356 USA.
Phone: (573)449-5871. Email:
Kindly visit us

What others say about Dr. Nagar:
Linda M. Canestraight
Dear Mohamed,
It is with great pleasure that I respond to your email quest for information about Dr. Nagar. I have known him over 20 years starting back when Mrs. Nagar first came into my computer lab to data enter all his manuscripts into a now archaic mainframe system so we could use special customized script programs to allow printing of diacritical marks in his text to publish his is manuscripts. I am not a librarian but a computer support specialist and while Dr. Nagar was working as Ellis Library, new technologies launched and we were faced with converting all his manuscripts created with old computer technology to new programs utilized by libraries and people everywhere. Dr. Nagar and I worked together getting special PERL scripts written to assist the conversion of all his diacritical marks to characters recognized by MS Word. Once in MS Word we could print his manuscripts again but found that the world couldn’t because of his special font needs. We had to wait 3 years for Adobe Acrobat to be created to allow us to save files in PDF format to preserve the font and special Indic text and make all his writings available for viewing around the world.

Out with the old and in with the new as the library card cataloging changed to digital format. Dr. Nagar embraced the new technology and immediately his research methods took off around the world with a point and click instead of waiting for days to find out the result done by some other librarian on his behalf. The World Wide Web opened a whole new doorway for librarians in today’s world making research must easier.

Dr. Nagar is 88 years old and has been retired for a decade now but his librarian skills are still being used daily as he is always deep into some new research. He spent many years researching Om (AUM) using today’s library technologies and written a series of 5 books on Om, all research work being done without leaving his residence. The power of the library today is limited only by its users.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like anything else, you have permission to use any of my words in your blog.

Linda Canestraight
Univ. of Missouri
IATS Helpdesk
(573) 882-4866

Kathy Strickland
Dear Mohamed,

I certainly cannot answer any of your technical questions, but I can tell you of my work with Dr. Nagar and what a dedicated scholar he is and has been.

I worked alongside him in his library office while I was a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Together we published a journal called Om Shanti and a reformed version of "Laukikanyayanjali"("A Handful of Popular Maxims") in English and Sanskrit. My mother helped edit the book Dr. Nagar referred you to below, "A Sanskrit Librarian Comes to America," which tells the amazing story of his career.

I was a journalism student at the university and interviewed Dr. Nagar and his wife, Sarla, for an article published in the local paper. If any of the information from this story about their life of service to Om would be of use to you, I would be more than happy to share it -- or to speak from my own experiences with the Nagars.

Through a collection of rare texts he helped bring to the university library, and through his expert knowledge of the Vedas and other holy works, Dr. Nagar opened my eyes to a new Truth. I am forever greatful.

Om Shanti,

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