Marathi literature reaches rural households through Gyan Key -libraries set up at schools in various talukas by NGO Rural Relations
About a month back for Jyoti Kshirsagar, a sixth standard student of Hutatma Umaji Naik High School in Bhivadi village of Purandar Taluka in Pune district, books essentially meant the school textbooks,. Today, she has read Agnipankh –the Marathi translation of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s Wings of Fire and Batayachi Chal by P L Deshpande- thanks to the 200-book library set up in her school by Rural Relations, a city based rural consumer relations organisation.
Jyoti has also been appointed the monitor of the library called as- Gyan-Key. “I have to help our teacher Seema Bhimthade in maintaining the library register and ensure that every book is used carefully and returned in time. I have also recommend books to my friends. Agnipankh and Yashwant Vha (Marathi translation of Shiv Khera’s You Can Win) are the most read,” she says. Jyoti adds that she pledges to donate a book to this library on her birthday that falls on March 2.
“This is just one of the eight Gyan Key libraries set up by Rural Relations. These libraries aim at taking good Marathi literature at the doorsteps of rural students and motivating them to develop reading habits,” says Pradeep Lokhande, founder, Rural Relations. The organisation initially provides 180 Marathi books to the library. These include short stories, fairy tales, stories on Indian revolutionaries, books on sports and so on. Some of these include Shyamchi Aai, Allauddin ani Jaducha Diva, Aantar Rashtriya Vividh Khel and Sunita Williams.
S D Jagdale, a teacher with Hutatma Umaji Naik Highschool that has about 300 students from standard V to X, says that students are eager to read these books. “These students come from a modest to poor financial background and rarely do they buy books other than their school textbooks. While we had a school library, it did not have books that would necessarily appeal students. However, Gyan Key is focused towards this age group ensuring that every book will be an infotainment for students,” says he.
The libraries are managed by one of the girl students studying in class VI appointed as the Gyan Key monitor. Students are also encouraged to donate books, regardless of their subject, for the library on their birthdays, says Lokhande.
Jyotsana Patole, Gyan Key monitor of Kamandalu Panchkroshi Secondary School in Asare village in Wai taluka of Satara says, “Three students who had their birthdays last month have already donated books to the library instead of distributing sweets to friends.” Teacher Maruti Sasane says that 45 percent of the students have started using the library.
More such libraries have been set up at Kalyan in Haveli taluka Pune, Akoshi in Wai taluka of Satara, Kanadgaon in Gangapur taluka of Aurangabad, Nimba village in Balapur taluka in Akola, Mupti village from Dhule taluka of Dhule district and Mehunbore village of Chalisgaon taluka in Jalgaon since November 11, when the project was launched. “I plan to have at least 200 such libraries in various villages in Maharahstra,” says Lokhande.