Kerala

Malappuram’s first book stall bids adieu

When a group of writers and cultural leaders gathered here on Wednesday to offer farewell to a septuagenarian bibliophile, it turned out to be a curious surprise for many.

Even the man in question, P. Hamza endearingly known to Malappuramites as Premier Hamza, did not expect such a gesture of goodwill from his friends.

Mr. Hamza, who runs the oldest book stall in Malappuram town, is getting ready to call it a day.

In another ten days, Hamza’s Premier Book Stall will close down, leaving memories sweet and sour to many a writer in Malayalam.

“It was not a mere book stall. It was a centre for literary and cultural grooming of many,” said poet Manambur Rajanbabu, who draped Mr. Hamza with a shawl. Several other writers and cultural leaders, including K.G. Rammohan, shared the same opinion.

“There’s no news in a book stall closing down. But when Premier Book Stall closes down, it’s news. It has played a solid role in the making of many writers,” said Mr. Rajanbabu.

Apart from Mr. Rajanbabu, the writers who used to spend time at Hamza’s shop and engage in literary discussions included Kadammanitta, Vishnunarayan Namboothiri, B. Rajeevan, Prasanna Rajan, and several Malayalam and English professors from colleges in Malappuram.

Started in 1977 on Manjeri Road and shifted to Perinthalmanna Road in 1986, Premier Book Stall used to be a dependable source for literary books in the 70s and 80s.

“I used to offer novels, stories, poems, plays and various other literary works in those times.

Writers, students and teachers of art and literature used to spend a lot of time here.

But as time pressed, I could not help moving to other stationery items,” said Mr. Hamza.

Health reasons

He said he was closing his shop for health reasons. Though unnoticeable for modern eyes, Hamza’s little book shop will leave behind memories robust and beautiful for those who loved letters.

“Writers like me depended a lot on this book shop. We are going to lose a solid aide,” said Mr. Rajanbabu.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 10:07:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/malappurams-first-book-stall-bids-adieu/article25784082.ece

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