At a time when most of the people are glued to television sets or internet, a family in Koraput spends half of their income to purchase books.
Their love for books is so much that even after his retirement, Jalandhara Gantha, head of the family, spends money on books.
Priyabrata Patra, a well known writer from Koraput said their library is stocked up with books, in fact a room at their home is full of books. An equal quantity of books are also kept locked in another house in Bandhugaon due to lack of space here.
While a few thousand books got their space in the racks, many more books were lying on the floor due to the lack of adequate infrastructure in their little tin roofed house in Lift irrigation colony of Koraput.
Sanjib Kumar Gantha breathes his life in books along with his father, Jalandhar Gantha, a native of Bandhugaon block in Koraput district has served his entire life with children of the underprivileged sections of the society being a teacher in the schools of Koraput and Rayagada district being managed by ST/SC Development department.
However no matter what his job was and the salary was, he has been spending almost half of his income to purchase books.
“While there was an interest to read books since my childhood, it became more intense after serving as a teacher,” Jalandhara Gantha said.
At the age of 35, when he was serving in Rayagada district as a teacher in a remote village, he used to come to Rayagada exclusively to buy new books. And it continued from his generation to the second generation with Sanjib, his son taking up similar interest.
“Every book is read by both of them be it on science, philosophy, politics, religion, books by foreign authors or by local if it had content worth reading it had to reach the library,” Sanjiv said.
Earlier, it was difficult to get books at a place like Koraput.
However, now they purchase books online. Lack of financial resources has prevented them from properly stocking the books, however they are making efforts to save them from termite and rodents.
A postgraduate in political science from VD College, Jeypore , Sanjiv feels that the current education system is flawed as it kills the reading ( beyond text books) habit.
The universities have also not adopted latest trends of education failing to match the international standard while asking their students to rock internationally.
Odisha is one of the most backward states in this regard with its universities suffering due to a poor vision towards education.
Students need to take the help of internet as most of the books prescribed by leading universities are available at no cost in the internet.
Without an urge to learn beyond the regular courses in schools and colleges, students won’t be able to innovate or create. Public libraries in each town and villages could go a long way in transforming the country, he added.