University of Madras donates 75,000 books

It was not easy for S. Anuradha to part with her scrap books that had articles on Indian heritage and history published in newspapers over the last twenty years. “I have been collecting the stories since I was in school, it's an invaluable treasure for me, but I realise it's of no use until it is passed down to others,” she said, as she placed the books on the ‘Aviva Great Wall of Education' presented by The Hindu, at the Express Avenue Mall, Royapettah, on Tuesday.

Moments like this reflected the spirit of donation that came across on the third day of the book donation drive that is aimed to educate underprivileged children.

According to the organisers, as of Tuesday evening, nearly 1.17 lakh books have been donated since the inauguration of the drive on Sunday.

An atlas donated to the ‘Wall' said “It is a big, big world” but that did not seem to deter seven-year-old Jai Aswani who dreams of building a world of “equal chances to all” The boy donated an entire collection of Benton comics.

A whole set of hand-made scrap books with stickers on them that said “Help us grow the nation” and “to you my sweet friend” was donated by a group of school children.

S. R. Sripriya who has been donating books three days in a row, said “Every time I go home I realise I have to give something more. She has donated as many as 400 books since Sunday.

For Santha Sheela Nair, a former IAS officer, the whole act of assorting the books to be given away was an “overwhelming” moment. “These were the investments I made when I was young, they are a precious collection that dates back to 35 years,” she said, as she donated a set of 300 books on various topics ranging from adventure and travel to mythology and fiction.

The highlight of the day was the donation of 75,000 books by the University of Madras. Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam said an initiative such as this was imperative to aid the government in reaching out to the underprivileged of the country. “The state of the ten million children in the country who have no access to basic amenities can be changed only by providing them education, and the supplementary material that would refine their growth,” he added.

Urging people to donate more books, playwright ‘Crazy' Mohan said “It is nice to be a bookworm, but don't leave your books for the worms,” he said. “It's not possible to go and teach every child, but this is something we all can do,” he added.

Actor Sonia Agarwal said it was the significance of the cause that prompted her to support the drive.

Call to readers

Readers who would like to donate books to the ‘Great Wall of Education' can also drop the books at The Hindu Franchisee Advertisement Counters across the city on September 8. For more information and franchisee locations, contact: 28416250 / 28575729.