New Delhi: One of the unfulfilled wishes of India’s 11th President late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was to ensure that every youth of India has access to good books and quality knowledge, says his former advisor and co-author for many years, Srijan Pal Singh. Having come up with a unique library initiative for COVID-19 centres, Singh aims to fulfil the wish of the late President.
“He aspired that there should be one free library in every village and even the remotest corner of the country and that the youth of the nation should have access to books as a matter of right,” Singh, who is the CEO of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre, told IANSlife.
The Kalam Library Project is based on this unfulfilled wish of Dr Kalam and was founded by Singh. It aims to empower the youth with the power of knowledge, so that they realize that nothing is impossible in life.
As a response to COVID, a Kalam Library in Surat’s Atal Samvedna Centre has been launched. The library has a collection of over 60 books and 20 magazines to cater to the needs of patients of all age groups. Books include biographies of great leaders, religious scriptures, storybooks and motivation guides.
“Kalam libraries have been serving the marginalized section of society with the power of knowledge and we have over 450 such libraries across 14 states of the nation. We believe that even in these distressing times, learning should not stop. Anybody who is coming to the quarantine centre to heal should also be learning from the wealth of books. Also, we came across many articles related to the mental agony of patients in the quarantine centres. And what would be a better way to alienate them from the anxiety and fear than books. After all, books are our best friends,” Singh said.
“The books are kept inside the quarantine centres. Any patient can pick up a book of his/her choice and read it. They are regularly sanitized so that they do not become a carrier of infection among the patients. And since, the patients cannot go outside the centre, there is no case of loss of books,” Singh said.
What has been the initial response so far? “People from age groups, especially the older ones have responded well. Since they have less access to mobile phones, books help them keep their mind engaged. Also, good books radiate positivity and keep the mind healthy. And a vibrant mind leads to fast healing.”
The initiative is being planned to expand to all the quarantine centres of the country, wherever operation of such libraries is possible.