JHARKHAND: Sanjay Kachhap, a 40-year-old market secretary of Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Jamshedpur, is on a mission to extend academic support to the underprivileged. He has set up 18 libraries at many locations in Kolhan Division of Jharkhand: East Singhbhum, Seraikela Kharsawan and West Singhbhum. State Finance Minister Rameshwar Oraon recently conferred him with the title of ‘Library Man’ at a function by a society in Ranchi.
Kachhap says he sacrificed his dream to become an IAS officer in 2002 as completing graduation itself proved to be a struggle. But he was determined to help out the economically backward so they do not face the same problems that he did while pursuing higher education.
“When I started preparing for competitive exams, many like me didn’t have the money to buy books. I decided that whenever I start earning, I would set up small study centres so that the next generation does not face the same problem. Out of the 18 libraries I set up, 12 are completely digital, and the two having LED with Wi-fi connection. Here, students take online classes and prepare for UPSC exams,” says Kachhap.
Most of the libraries have been set up inside community centres or school buildings which are not in use or in private properties donated by individuals, he added.Books pertaining to schools, colleges and competitive exams are stocked in the 40 libraries set up in collaboration with like-minded tribal academics from the Kolhan division.
In 2008, he started out in a small way from his own locality, which inspired people in tribal areas to contribute to his mission. “The initiative has now led the local representatives to make provisions for libraries in community buildings. The ‘library mission’ changed the mindset of those tribal leaders who had never thought about promoting education,” said Kachhap.
Before setting up a library, he holds meetings with the local youths and educated villagers to give them a feeling of responsibility, and proceeds to set up youth clubs. “We identify sincere students and tell them that they will be provided with all the support for pursuing higher studies and preparing for competition exams. The only condition is the they have to teach their juniors in their free time,” said Kachhap, keeping in with his personal mantra “each one, teach one”.
The existing libraries were made fully digital to make government school students computer literate, said Kacchap. Soft copies of many rare books are stored in these computers to make these accessible to every student, he said. “We also give bicycles to students from government schools in rural areas who secure above 75 per cent marks. Recently, Pratima Oraon from Kharsawan who secured 84 per cent in Class 10 was provided financial support as her parents could not afford the expenses of putting her in the science stream.
“Online career counselling is frequently conducted as a morale booster to the aspirants coming to the library. Over 100 students have secured government jobs after getting guidance from our libraries,” he said. Kachhap even converted his six-year-old car into a mobile library, and on Sundays or his days off, drives to remote areas in Kolhan to promote the importance of books and education among villagers here.
Ritesth Tigga, now a sub-inspector with Jharkhand Police, is a product of the first library set up by Kachhap at a dilapidated community building in his locality. “I cleared the sub-inspector exam in 2018, only after taking guidance from the library and Kachhap sir,” says Tigga. Another beneficiary Ajay Kachhap says he would not have cleared the Jharkhand Administrative Services Exam last year without Sanjay Kachhap’s support. In gratitude, Ajay donated his first month’s salary to equip the library with study material on UPSC and JPSC exams.
Over & above
Kachhap even converted his six-year-old car into a mobile library, and on his days off, drives to remote areas in Kolhan to promote education among villagers.