Where a million thoughts blossomed

Free knowledge

Where a million thoughts blossomed

Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend, the paraphrased quote attributed to Mao Zedong. Nothing could describe better Pustaka Parishe held at the National College Grounds here on Sunday.

It was a bibliophile’s paradise as 10 lakh books of every conceivable genre was put together by Kannada Pustaka Pradhikara in co-ordination with Srushtri Ventures.

Many people contend that knowledge should be free. This then was the spirit at the Pustaka Parishe. The books were not for sale, but free for book lovers with no strings attached.

Bibliophiles picked up books of their choice, according to their tastes and temperament bringing alive the principles of library science as propounded by S R Ranganathan, the father of library science - Books are for use; Every reader his (or her) book; Every book its reader.

Initially the organisers had planned for one book per person but as the crowd grew in number and the demand for books went up, visitors were allowed to pick as many books as they wanted.

From comics to books on religious discourse and novels, each one found a book of their choice. Towards evening, the best ones were already picked.

Nagaraj Navunda, founder of Srushti Ventures has been organising the book fair every year and the one this time is the fifth edition. Last year, it was organised at Netkallappa Circle with a collection of around one lakh books.

“Many students have bought books for the purpose and have donated it to us. A few publishers also have distributed books for free. A publisher from Mysore donated 8,000 books for the fair,” said one of the organisers. A few years ago, Navunda began with just a few hundred books from his collection at home in addition to books that his friends gave away. Srushti Ventures organises the fair annually to encourage the reading habits among people.  Bureaucrat I M Vittal Murthy, who recently retired from his job, was one of the many visitors who found books of his taste at the fair. “I now have enough time to do all the reading I want to. Given a choice I would have picked up at least a dozen more books here. I feel spoilt for choice! The fair will definitely be an encouragement for youngsters.”

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