A service for book lovers

Octogenarian sets up library in Kakinada

Updated - February 22, 2018 08:10 am IST

Published - February 22, 2018 01:02 am IST

Writer Sadhu Subrahmanya Sarma at his library in Kakinada. Photo: K.N. Murali Sankar

Writer Sadhu Subrahmanya Sarma at his library in Kakinada. Photo: K.N. Murali Sankar

At the age of 87, bilingual writer and poet Sadhu Subrahmanya Sarma has set up a library with over 1,500 titles in the residential area behind Spencer’s supermarket in the city. Literature lovers and aspirants of various competitive examinations can access the books free of cost. They can use the library premises eight hours a day or they can also borrow the titles after gaining the confidence of its proud owner. ‘Sadhu Memorial Private Library’ is what the name given by Mr. Sarma to it, housed in a three-roomed rented accommodation.

“Library is not a mere storeroom of books. It is an institution that influences the minds and behaviours of those who use it,” says the octogenarian while browsing that tiles of both English and Telugu and ranging from literature to history, economics, politics, health, tourism, life sciences, philosophy, computers and children’s literature.

Love for the region

A native of Manesamudram in Anantapur district, Mr. Sarma settled down in the city immediately after completing his academics. “As I joined the Industries department, I got most of the postings here. Since this is the native place of my wife, subsequently I developed love for this region,” he recalls. After retiring from services as general manager of the District Industries Centre, he preferred not to move out of the city. Despite having invites from his five children and grandchildren, Mr. Sarma is keen on living on his own and there is no change in his firm decision even after the demise of his wife. “My father was a Sanskrit scholar and it was because of him I was introduced to the world of literature. There were days when I opted to starve to buy the book of my choice. Now, I just can’t abandon those titles and that is why I am doing my bit to make the right people use these books,” he explains.

A writer himself

Mr. Sarma himself is a writer and poet and penned about 10 books in Telugu and English. His Telugu novel ‘Bankola’ depicted the rise and fall of Coringa as a port city and evoked good response from the bibliophiles.

“I have taken this portion of the house on rent and hired two librarians on monthly salaries. I am also subscribing Telugu and English newspapers and journals for the benefit of jobseekers. I am footing all these bills from my pension, as all my children and grandchildren are well off,” he says in a sense of pride. “The library welcomes serious readers, but it can’t entertain those who wish to pass the time or use the premises for other purposes,” Mr. Sarma sums up firmly.

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