For the love of books

Jun 30, 2014, 07:23 IST | Swapnal Tilekar

Saahityadarshan, a book display in Acharya Atre Sabhagriha offers readers one lakh books across genres under the same roof. the guide meets the men behind the exhibition to discover how their love for books made them cross every hurdle along the way

From fiction, non-fiction, self-help to cookery and informative guides, here’s an exhibition you can’t miss. With Marathi language titles as well as rare finds by acclaimed authors like Vyankatesh Madgulkar, and Durga Bhagwat, there’s something for everyone. We met with organisers — Ganesh Londhe and Ravindra Kasar who had a story to tell.

Book exhibition
Saahityadarshan promises rare finds for the diligent reader

Friends of books
Friends Londhe and Kasar worked together in a publication company for over fifteen years. Having seen the business from up close, the duo formed a keen interest and soon enough, decided to do something out of their fondness for reading. Londhe shares, “We both are only seventh and eighth class pass outs who happened to work together in a publication company. While there, we realised our interest in books and hence, decided to give back to readers. With this thought, we collaborated and formed a team to organise exhibitions across Maharashtra over a decade ago. We began with a single exhibition; now, we have at least 25 exhibitions in a year — two every month, ideally at different venues. So, as of now, we are also running an exhibition in Kolhapur simultaneously.”

Ganesh Londhe
The organiser-duo: Ravindra Kasar (left) and Ganesh Londhe (right)

Task at hand
But organising such a huge exhibition can be demanding. We learn that the duo manages it without any help or donations. Kasar elaborates, “Our exhibitions do not always fetch us profit. We do not take donations and the rents of exhibition halls are sky-high. Often, during the monsoon or recently, during the elections, we faced losses.” Not losing heart, Kasar keeps a practical stance, “This will happen when you are trying to provide something that is in danger of being extinct. We want people to read and provide them with as many books as they want, even if we don’t make money all the time.”

Reader-friendly city?
Speaking of readership, we ask how Pune fares as far as readers go: “We get a good audience in cities like Pune, Nasik, and Kolhapur. But other places do not seem that much interested. Again, youngsters these days prefer to read English novels than Marathi or any other regional languages. We have a reason, why we keep less English books and more regional books in our displays; we want even readers to be inclined towards their native language.”

He adds that while it’s important to read English novels as they have great writers, regional languages also offer great reads. “They should read both,” Kasar believes. Sign of the times While most people lament how youngsters are drifting away from reading books; the duo disagree. Londhe says, “I don’t think e-books or video games have taken the generation away. We have young visitors all the time to our exhibitions. Rather, most of our readers are young especially in the suburbs and villages. Those who cannot read English, opt for translations. It’s a myth that young people do not read.”

Considering the upcoming competitive exams; they have created a separate section for books on general knowledge, UPSC and MPSC studies and even informative books for kids. With about 300-350 translations, about 50-100 rare books the exhibition is also offering 25% discount on its bestselling books.

Till: July 31, 10 am to 9 pm
At: Acharya Atre Hall, Bajirao Road, Swargate.
Call: 24473372

Take your pick

Saahityadarshan offers rare books by writers like Indira Sant, Suresh Bhat and Mangesh Padgaonkar. Top sellers in the exhibitions are — Vanavaas (Prakash Sant), Gone With The Wind (Translated by Varsha Gajendra Gadkar) and Rashtradharma Sanrakshak Narendra Modi (Prabhakar Pathak), Shaala (Minlind Bokil).

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