Amidst The Hustle Bustle Of Elections In MP, Sapre Library In Bhopal Is A Welcome Stopover
Bhopal, November 8 (TNA) The entire state capital of Madhya Pradesh is witnessing electioneering like never before. The state seems evenly divided between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indian National Congress (INC), with some even ready “try for a change” regional parties from Uttar Pradesh, like the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP).
But far away from the deafening noise of election capiagn is a two-storeyed quiet building on the road number 3, Patrakar Colony of Bhopal. And well, there is no hustle bustle here. This is the Sapre Library which houses one of the rarest books, manuscripts, journals, news papers and has a whopping five crore pages of treasure trove in it.
Walk in and you would find some young men and women submerged in the digitization process of rare books, and papers of which have weathered the vagaries of time but are now giving up. A salt n’pepper-haired lady sits on a high chair, watching everyone and quietly observing the process being followed for the digitization which is being done by the CRS fund of the State Bank of India (SBI).
The silence here is a pleasant contrast to the loud cacophony we have been witnessing around us interviewing people, party workers, supporters, leaders and the common man some of whome are vocal, some silent and a majority loud.
After a long three-hour drive from Ujjain, I planned to stretch my limbs for an hour at the hotel as we checked in but Rajendra Dwivedi, a senior journalist, who is my companion in this trip, pesters me to come to the Sapre library.
Reluctantly, I agreed and now that I am here, I am happy that I shrugged off my laziness and drove to this spectacular place, which has put together many pieces of history intact and in good shape. There are 26,290 titled newspapers here, 1,66,222 reference documents and books, 1934 other papers, 5605 reference files, 3000 manuscripts and 25,300 letters written by some 284 eminent writers authors, journalists and educationists.
There are large collections from people like Makhan Lal Chaturvedi, Pandit Kamta Prasad Guru, Pushpa Bharati, Shiv Gopal Mishra, Babu Chandra Mohan Das, Nirmal Narad and many more, whoc though this was the place where they would be safely preserved and passed on to the next generation. DAV College of Kanpur too has gifted many books here, apparently knowing well, that these treasured books and documents are best placed at Sapre library.
Vijaydutt Shreedhar, the man behind the emaculate upkeep and expansion of this place, says that he was happy that the concept with which the library was started some 40 years back has driven the entire team so far. “I am in a happy space, we have delivered on the promises and aspirations of the people who sowed this weed” he muses. Shreedhar was awarded the Padma Shri in 2012. He deserves much more for the service he is doing so religiously and passionately.