Opening of the Murtuza Baksh Library - 10th December 2013
When I was asked a few days ago to speak at this ceremony which formally opens the Murtuza Baksh Library, I began to think about what a young Murtuza Baksh would think if he knew that at some point in the future, a library would bear his name.
You see, for those of you who are unaware of his austere origins, the school aged Murtuza was faced with abject poverty, especially after his mother was widowed leaving her the sole bread winner of thirteen children. Unable to pursue further education, he was forced initially to cut cane to help earn enough money for the family to subsist.
Because of the kindness of the early Presbyterian missionaries he was saved from a life without education and started working as a class monitor in the Preysal Mission School. While destitute poverty made education and learning quite difficult, a life without education was anathema to him. Without electricity, he studied by flambeaux at night and was able to win an Island Exhibition Scholarship. This propelled him into teaching where he eventually became the first principal of this institution and the rest is history.
One can easily see the that, the availability of books to a young Murtuza Baksh was very low so he would be forgiven if he thought it crazy that a library would someday be named in his honour. But, in many ways, this is a fitting tribute to him. His lifelong thirst ofr books and knowledge which took him to England and Australia as well as his continued deep reading well into retirement can attest to this. He had a preference for philosophy with James Allen's 1902 novel, "As a Man Thinketh", being one of his fondest and oft quoted books.
In many ways, traditional libraries such as the Library of Congress and the Bodleian at Oxford are relics since the coming of the new information age some decades ago with instantaneous access to information being as ubiquitous as the smart phone. It is however, my ardent hope that in some small way this library inspires young pupils to pursue knowledge whether from print or online as unflinchingly and persistently as my grandfather Murtuza Baksh.
On behalf of Mr. Baksh's family, I thank the PTA, staff and students of San Fernando TML for dedicating the library in his name.
This was presented by Dr. Nadeem Hosein at the formal Opening Ceremony of the San Fernando TML Primary School's library on Wednesday 11th December 2013.
Dr. Hosein is the grandson of the first Principal, Mr. Murtuza Baksh and son of the current principal, Mrs. Camille Hosein (nee Baksh).