As the sun rose on the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia on February 21, many readers reached the main campus gate (near Ghalib atatue) and waited for a stall to be set up.
As the clock struck 10, the hoard of students alongwith a few faculty members surrounded this stall to search, browse and flip through the books on display. They selected the ones that they liked and then headed to their classrooms. What was special was that the books were available for free!
The stall was set up as part of Read and Pass it on Initiative by the Outreach Programme in collaboration with Dr Zakir Husain Library at Jamia Millia Islamia and displayed around three thousand old and unused books as part of the ‘Read and Pass it on initiative’ on campus. These could be picked up for free. Though the stall was supposed to be set up till 4 pm, a huge turnout of keen readers picked up all that was collected over a year and by the time it was 12.30 pm, the stall had be wound up.
"We collect old and unread books all round the year with the idea of 'read and pass it on', without any cost. The books range from English fiction and non-fiction to science, mathematics and social science. They are displayed at the stall which is set up once at least once a year and there is a good response from students always," informed a University official.
For the students, it was no less than a bumper prize as many found old books of their courses for ready reference. Mohammad Abbas, a PG student of Fine Arts shared, “I found a book on Picasso and one titled as ‘New Birth on History of Art’among the maddening crowd which is going gaga over free books! I was lucky to chance upon a book of Physics that my nephew has been wanting since long for his engineering course. Since it has underlined important sections, he will be happy to refer it.”
A few tried to pick up all those which were available but had to restrict themselves to only as many as could fit into their jholas! An enthusiastic Narendra Meena, a student of diploma in Electrical Engineering said, “I didn’t know the date of the book donation stall this time otherwise I donate my old books every year. This time have picked up novels which I am planning to read after my exams and I feel that the stall should be set up more often as it inculcates reading habits in students without the hassle of issuing and returning books, as in the case of a library. It is a brilliant opportunity for those who are not economically sound to afford all books as many course books are also on display.”
The initiative got a thumbs up from virtually everyone but some returned disappointed because by the time they reached the designated place, all books had