NEW DELHI: Protesters at Singhu border are enjoying spending their leisure time reading these days, thanks to open libraries set up by university students or NGOs from Punjab. The temporary libraries, which offer an array of books in Hindi, English and Punjabi languages, have become quite popular among the protesters. Visitors can get the books issued for up to five days free of cost. Some of the libraries have small reading areas too.
Gurdeep Singh, a research scholar at Centre for human rights and duties at Panjab University, Chandigarh, had set up a library at the protesting site 20 days ago. He said, “everyone has his/her way of participating in jan andolan and for him and his colleagues, nothing could be better than setting up a library where people in their free time can borrow books and enhance their knowledge.”
“I came here on December 2 and found people sitting idle in their free time. I then pursued my friends and we collected books from our collections as well as bought some on different subjects. Just after two-three days of setting up the library, demand started pouring in,” said Gurdeep.
“About 40-50 people from different age groups borrow books daily and some of them even prefer to sit here and read. We are inspired by Dr BR Ambedkar and his principle of ‘educate, agitate and organise’. This is what we are trying to convey through our books, which are mostly related to social reformers and revolutionaries, such as Kartar Singh Sarabha, Bhagat Singh, Baba Bhaghel Singh and Dr BR Ambedkar,” he added.
Sukhwinder Singh from Amritsar, who pursued his MA from Guru Nanak Dev University, decided to transport all books from his personal collection to set up a temporary library here. “I have books based on human rights activists, revolutionaries and also, I have fictions, literature and biographies. The idea is to attract all kinds of crowd and offer them to read whatever they want to. There is no better way to spend time than reading books,” said Sukhwinder, adding that at least 50-60 people borrow books from his library daily.
“I take feedback from people and try to arrange for books of their choice. For avid readers, we try to get books for free,” he said. “My friends Jasbeer Singh from Moga and Kiranpreet Singh from Ropar are also helping me add books to my collection.”