Caption: An inside view of the Book House. Another inside view of the Book House. The Book House as seen from road.
Sometimes, I wonder what would be this world for many, like me, without books. Not that I am a book-worm or an voracious reader, but surely one who loves books generally. An ideal friend when alone, whom you can leave easily and choose another, let me say, book-friend who will expect nothing from you yet keeps you engaged, entertained or educated. Which is why, while on holidays, when my wife goes for shopping, I choose a book shop, with her permission, to spend the time till she calls me on cellphone. Happiness for both! Let it be.
I broach on the subject of books because of my recent visit to a store house of books of all sorts, over five lakh in numbers I was told, in an unlikely place and location — Pandavapura, in Mandya district on the Mysuru-Nagamangala road running through a village called Harala Halli. In Kannada it is called Pusthaka Mane, Book House. And, therefore, a store-house of knowledge, since knowledge is power, a store-house of power! Officially it is known as Ankegowda Jnana Pratishtana (R).
Since few years my friend K. Vijaya Kumar has been gently urging me to make a visit to this library, as he called it, giving me some description of its significance and about the man behind this library M. Ankegowda, who has now retired from service at the Pandavapura Sugar Factory. An MA in Kannada from the University of Mysore, collecting books has been his passion, along with coins, postal stamps, greeting cards and even wedding invitation cards that come these days in a variety of shapes, sizes with contents that would make the Royal invitation from the Palace pale into ordinary. To deviate from the library, these invitations are generally from the nouveau-riche, the upstarts in society and the upstart politicians.
To revert to the Book House, it took its birth in Ankegowda’s house to begin with but later when the...more