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India’s Book Activists

Here’s taking a look at some of the most brilliant minds who are promoting the reading habit in the country.

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If you think the concept of reading books has declined, think again. Here’s taking a look at some of the most brilliant minds who have stepped in to make a difference and who, with their own quirky initiatives, are promoting the reading habit in the country.

Bookseller on Scooter

Whether it is a banned title or a rare book, Tarun Kumar Shaw from Kolkata is a human equivalent to Amazon and Flipcart. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, read carefully. Since more than three decades, the man has been running a one-of-a-king home delivery service where he personally delivers books to his clients on a scooter in the city of Kolkata. And he isn’t limited to a particular genre. Give him a list of books and he will deliver it to you, even if it is the rarest of the rare books that you have no hopes of laying your hands on to. The man is also an avid reader himself and, in an interview with a leading digital daily, revealed how he has “known legendary editors such as MJ Akbar and Vir Sanghvi”.

Human Library in Bangalore

Ever heard of books you can actually interact with? Well, if you think this is strange then you’re in for a big surprise. Conceptualized in Copenhagen, Denmark in the year 2000, this concept has finally arrived in India and “aims to challenge prejudice against social contact among people”. India’s version of the Human Library is in Hyderabad and its concept is similar to a traditional library. Participants of the Human Library can be chosen to engage in conversations (in simple words, you can borrow people and read them) where they are expected to share stories on a one-on-one basis. According to the founder, anyone who has a unique story to tell can be a human library. This includes people who have experienced any form of prejudice or have been questioned for their unique lifestyle choices. Making a conversation with them can help people broaden their horizons and make space for other perspectives.

We definitely think this initiative is required in today’s times for the betterment of the society. Three cheers for the Human Library.

Telengana man uses pushcart to promote books  

Sheik Sadiq Ali, a former journalist and an avid reader from Telangana, once bought a pushcart (Topudu Bandi is what he calls it) and filled it up with Telugu books. His love for reading was definitely the trigger along with the fact that he wished to promote books, especially poetry among the younger lot who he thinks are missing out on a lot of great literature. He chose a single area on a per day basis and soon began attracting a lot of attention.

The man is also a post-graduate in Telugu literature and he uses social media to publicize his idea. He once planned to take his books to rural states and decided to push his cart for 1000 kms over a hundred days.

Walking BookFairs for bibliophiles

Akshaya Rautaray and Satabdi Mishra’s innovative new way to spread the joy of reading has definitely made a difference. Known as Walking BookFairs, the Bhubaneshwar-based couple’s initiative includes travelling around the country in their van with more than 4000 books. It is quite like a travelling bookshop and the couple visit different parts of the country to encourage the common man to read. Quite a lovely initiative, we must say.

India’s brand new book village

India has a brand new book village which recently celebrated its first weekend. Known as Pustakache Gaon, which has been inspired by Britain’s Hay-On-Wye, this new concept by the Maharashtra government has everyone awestruck. Located between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar, at least 25 spaces in this village have been converted into free public libraries. There are houses that have put together a few bookcases alongside some tables and chairs in their courtyards and balconies to accommodate readers. Likewise, there are a number of temples and schools that have followed the same procedure to encourage reading. A fantastic project that also allows people from different walks of life to connect with each other, this rare initiative is definitely a treat to all book lovers from across the country.