Andhra Pradesh

Gandhiji’s stick, a cherished collectible here

Librarian of Saraswata Niketanam Library P. Srivalli showing the stick gifted by Mahatma Gandhi.   | Photo Credit: KommuriSrinivas

Khadi, the signature fabric of the nation, is the attire of Mahatma Gandhi. So is the walking stick that is synonymous with the Father of the Nation, which helped him walk the length and breadth of the country with ease during the Independence struggle.

The stick the leader of the Indian Independence movement gifted during his visit to the remote village of Vetapalem on the outskirts of the handloom town of Chirala in 1929 is the prized possession of the library in Prakasam district.

The library, which had a small beginning in 1918, is an indologist’s delight with volumes of Gandhian literature and editions of his Young India, Harijan and My Experiments with Truth, besides vernacular journals that had captured the spirit of the freedom movement as it unfolded.

Showing the cherished collectible placed at a vantage place in the library, Saraswata Niketanam Library Trust chairman K. Mallikarjun Rao said that Bapu, in deference to the wishes of his admirers, had given it to the library after laying the stone for a room in the library.

“Mahatma Gandhi was very particular that the stick was light in weight so as not to hurt insects and other small creatures while walking,” he said, going down the memory lane. “It has developed cracks, but we have set it right quickly,” he added.

Rare journals

Researchers from far and wide who throng the library take a curious look at the walking stick and get to know interesting details of it before getting themselves engrossed in gleaning the rare books and journals the library treasures to understand the various facets of India down the ages, said its librarian Parini Srivalli, who was busy organising the celebrations to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The library is also home to the pylon erected to mark the first visit of the first President, Babu Rajendra Prasad.

The library, which completed 100 years of service to book lovers, also has the Independence Day edition of the now defunct Andhra Patrika as also that of another popular Telugu daily Andhra Prabha.

“We have taken up the process of digitally preserving for posterity all the manuscripts, rare books, newspapers, journals and other periodicals jointly with like-minded organisations such as the Andhra Pradesh Press Academy, Sundaraiah Vignana Kendram, and Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati,” Mr. Rao said.


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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 7:24:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/gandhijis-stick-a-cherished-collectible-here/article25108350.ece

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