Andhra Pradesh

A treasure trove of knowledge in A.P.

Old is gold: A view of the Saraswata Niketanam at Vetapalem in Prakasam district.   | Photo Credit: KommuriSrinivas

A researcher, T. Shankar, is busy gleaning through old newspapers for submitting a thesis on the last stages of the freedom struggle at Saraswata Niketanam, a treasure trove of rare books, newspapers, and magazines, at the village of Vetapalem, near Chirala in Prakasam district.

On the other side of the library, B. Mastan Reddy, a youth, is engrossed in preparing for the Civil Services examination. Scenes such as these are common at the library as researchers make a beeline for it.

The library has a rich collection of over 95,000 volumes and over 120 rare palm leaf manuscripts.

Started on Vijayadasami day (October 18) in 1918, the privately managed library has come a long way throwing light on Indology.

Flaunting the Independence Day edition of the now defunct Andhra Patrika started by Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao in 1908, librarian Parini Srivalli says those pursuing their doctorate programme make it a point to visit the library.

The library also has rare copies of dailies such as Andhra Prabha, Krishna Patrika, and Udayam.

Valuable gift

Pointing to the walking stick occupying a vantage position in the library, Ms. Srivalli said that it had been gifted by the Father of the Nation during his first visit to Vetapalem, then an important centre spearheading the freedom movement.

Mahatma Gandhi had visited the library again in 1935 to give a push to the freedom struggle in these parts of the region.

A pylon erected in the library stands testimony to the visit of the first President, Babu Rajendra Prasad, to the library.

Some of the books had been donated by the former CBI Joint Director, V.V. Lakshminarayana, a regular visitor to the library.

“We have taken up the process of digitising the rare books, newspapers, and magazines in association with the Andhra Pradesh Press Academy, Sundaraiah Vignana Kendra, and Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati,” said K. Mallikarjun Rao, chairman of the trust that runs the library.


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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 9:46:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/a-treasure-trove-of-knowledge-in-ap/article24663282.ece

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