Innovative library named after theatre stalwart Satyadev Dubey opens in Marathwada village

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On the premises of Pandhari Zilla Parishad Primary School, a specially designed library has opened for the villagers. Behind the bookshelves is a big blackboard for students to draw or write on. Adjacent to them is a spacious wooden bench.

With graffiti on the school walls serving as a colourful backdrop, this newly opened library named ‘Satyadev Dubey Vachanalay’ is meant to attract serious readers and also serve as a meeting place for villagers.

The library in Aurangabad district is the newest initiative by Nabangan Foundation, set up by actor Rajshri Deshpande. The foundation has been working in the village for seven years to ease the water crisis as well as provide education and healthcare.

Naming the library after Satyadev Dubey, a pioneer of contemporary Indian theatre, was a natural choice for Deshpande. Though the actor has not worked with Dubey, she was inspired by the maverick director. That apart, the actor wishes to familiarise the villagers with the world of theatre and literature.

The library has nearly 1,500 books and their cataloguing will soon be done by theatre practitioners who are based in Aurangabad. “The villagers, however, have started borrowing books. We are also getting subscription of several magazines and newspapers,” says Deshpande.

The library has books on a range of subjects including music, environment, science, apart from a collection of major plays. “Theatre practitioners will visit Pandhari to hold workshops with children. We even plan to develop plays,” says Deshpande, who is known for her performance in S Durga (2017), Manto (2018) and Sacred Games (2018).

The idea to build such a library came from Deshpande’s father, Balwant Deshpande. “My father suggested that the way there is a bus stop in every village, there should be a library stop too,” recalls the founder of Nabangan Foundation. The actor says it was not practical to build a huge room for a library because “that’s not sustainable”. Instead, architect duo Yatindra Patil and Vijay Karade researched and came up with this design.

“It cost us Rs 1.75 lakh to set up the library. It takes around a month to build one. In the next two years, we plan to replicate this design in 30 villages across Marathwada. We will be seeking donations and funds. Depending on the money we raise, we will open new libraries.”

These libraries will be named after contemporary heroes who have worked in the field of science, environment, education, healthcare and others. Deshpande decided to name one of the libraries after Kamala Bhasin, the women’s rights activist who passed away this year. The next library will be set up in the tribal-populated Dorkin village, where the foundation is building a school too.

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