BANGALORE: The library of Gandhi Bhavan, which used to be in shambles at one point of time, got a second lease of life on Friday, as the Department of Public Library inaugurated the public library, dedicated exclusively to Gandhiji.
The Department also contributed books from their own collection on subjects varying from religion, politics, sociology to spirituality. The major contribution is by president of the Karnataka Gandhi Smarak Bhavan and a Gandhian, Srinivassaiah, who gave away 20,000 books on Gandhi, from his personal collection. Srinivassaiah felt that every Gram Panchayat in the country should have a library and should have books on Gandhiji. He said, “There are so many youngsters today, who are curious to know who was Gandhiji and what made him such a great leader.”
Minister for Law and Urban Development S Suresh Kumar, who was one of the chief guests, spoke about former president A P J Abdul Kalam’s visit to South Africa. After visiting Robben Island, Kalam asked Nelson Mandela how he got the strength to spend 27 years of his life in this place. Mandela hugged Kalam and said “Gandhiji gave me the strength. You country gave us M K Gandhi, we gave you back Mahatma Gandhi.” He implored, “Please make fullest use of this library and even if we imbibe a single quality of Gandhi, we can become assets to the nation.”
Deputy Director of Department of Public Library (Central Zone), Satish Kumar Hosamane said, “There was an increasing public demand, especially among the students and those appearing for IAS and KAS examinations, to have such a library.” He added, “Every year, we celebrate the National Library Week from November 14-20 to spread awareness on reading. We have around 160 libraries in the city, but this one is exclusively on Gandhi.”
The library has a collection of around 45,000 books and some very old copies of Harijan and other weekly newspapers published by Gandhiji from 1933 to 1948, Young India Volumes (1931), books on freedom struggle, M K Gandhi’s autobiography — The Story of My Experiments With Truth — books in German languages and many more. The Department plans to start an Internet browsing centre very soon.
The brain behind this initiative, Director of Public Libraries Venkatesh explained how the idea germinated. “We have a Children’s Library in Cubbon Park, which is a must visit. We have already established libraries in around 5,766 GP (gram Panchayat) headquarters. I want to focus on having congenial atmosphere and model buildings across all our libraries,” he said.
Membership Details: One can become a member by paying `1 for an application and can get three books issued by paying only `40.