I have been a part of book industry for over a decade and have seen both highs and lows. With the advent of Internet and Satellite Television there has been a steady downfall in the reading habits in young children. A visible change I can already see in my daughter who is more hooked to Television, Internet and now Smart Phones.
Reading a book not only let our mind enhance our knowledge but brings up a deep sense of imagination which let us create wonderful fictional stories. These stories later get transformed in to films, theatres etc. But at the root of it all reading habit is something which we must encourage amongst all age groups.
Even in schools now a days the number of books in the school library is steadily declining and students often stick to only the school text books which are required for the school or board exams only.
In metro cities and other upcoming towns the access to books are not an issue but India being a large country maximum population resides in smaller towns. Access to good English books is almost impossible as there are no good book shops. The only book shops in these smaller town sells school text books, exercise books and stationaries. Even online book shops do not have delivery facilities in such smaller places thus a major portion of the Indian population is not having the access to good and latest English books.
Keeping this in mind two young enthusiasts Akshay and Satabdi from the state of Odisha decided to literally take matters in their own hands. Initially in the year 2014 they had started out in the Koraput district of Odisha wherein they carried stacks of books to bus stands and other common locations for the people to glance through and have a look. Basically this was like an open air library where people could browse and read and if they wanted they could buy the books at an attractive discounts.
After their initial project they decided to take the same concept within the state of Odisha and went around 10,000 kilometres within the state spreading the knowledge of books. Post this they set up a base in the state capital Bhubaneswar and set up to buy a new mini truck and modify it to fit it around 4000 books from publishers who decided to help these enthusiasts in their journey across the country.
They plan to travel 10,000 kilometres across 20 states, they have already travelled around 3000 kilometres across Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Currently they are now in Nagercoil in the state of Tamil Nadu along with their trusted truck.
I have known Akshay personally for several years as we have earlier worked together thus I wish him all the very best in his mission to “inspire and encourage more people everywhere to read more books and to spread the love of books far and wide.”
This is probably the best way for the youths of India to start an initiative for the betterment of the country. When he comes to Kolkata I will definitely make it a point to visit his Walking Book Fair – Books On Wheel.
For more such inspiring story visit www.youthkiawaaz.com
To follow their story check them out on face book:- https://www.facebook.com/akshaya.k.rautaray