16,000 books for Jaffna library

Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu handed over as many as 16,000 books to the iconic Jaffna public library on Thursday.

The collection will be kept at the ‘India Corner’ in the library, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated during his maiden visit in 2015. “The titles cover topics ranging from culture, literature, philosophy, politics to science,” Chief Librarian Suganthy Sadasivamoorthy told The Hindu on Friday.

The new books, mostly in Tamil, will add to the library’s existing collection of nearly 1,00,000 books sourced over the last three decades. In June 1981, the library lost many of its precious titles and manuscripts when an organised mob of Sinhalese set fire to the building. Today, the white-coloured imposing structure — renovated and rebuilt in the late 1990s under President Chandrika Kumaratunga — draws scores of students and researchers.

“There is a lot of interest in Indian literature and culture among students and researchers here,” Ms. Sadasivamoorthy said.

A Thanjavur-based organisation, the Karanthai Tamil Sangam, collected the books for donation to the library. The donors have photocopied some titles on the work of Hindu revivalist Arumuga Navalar, copies of which were destroyed in the fire.

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