Today, let me try to give an overview of the important events/activities that happened before and just after the library inauguration. This will depict the journey we took to achieve the first milestone of home library mission.
1.The meeting of all institution’s heads @my residence, 25th May, 2007-evening
We tried to give heads up to all the people of my locality about the library through this meeting. This was very important because in such a small place like ours, when somebody tries something new, people became suspicious. They start to think –“is this a new way to earn money”. To mitigate this we targeted the prominent people of the locality.
We invited the heads (Principal/head masters) of 7 schools in the locality, presidents and secretaries of 5 NGO/societies operating in our place, heads of a few government institutes like Police Out-post, Block/circle office, Jana Sewa, rural library, etc., heads of a few financial institutes like (two) local banks, bazaar committee, (two) micro finance orgs, etc., and managing committee members of 4 private schools running in our locality. Despite rain, people showed up in good numbers and we started the meeting with around 30+ attendees.
First I explained to them the whole concept, how we were trying to affect ‘one wish, one dream a realization’ to a reality. This was followed by comments/suggestions session from all the people present there. People opened up so many directions/points which we never thought of. My bro captured all the points as MOM (minutes of meeting) and read those out to all at the end of the meeting with thanksgiving. I will publish the MOM in some of my later blogs.
Result was awesome—Everybody gave a ‘thumbs up’ to the idea.
2. Meeting some greatest personalities of Assam, 27th May, 2009
Dada and I set out to Guwahati (which is 140 KM from our home) to invite 2-3 people for our opening ceremony on 1st June, 09. Though we were told nobody will be ready in just 4 days of notice, we wanted to make the attempt for our own satisfaction.
Home Borgohain—I already mentioned his name in my blog, as my whole concept is inspired by his novel ‘Saudor puteke nao meli Jai’. He is the number one novelist of Assam (according to me) and compared to Karan Thapar for his TV interview shows. Meeting him personally was like Wow!! I explained to him this was the real implementation of what he had written years back. He greatly admired our efforts but informed us of his unavailability on 1st June due to ailing health. But this brought all contentment to our visit when he promised us to donate some 150+ books from his personal library and sent out a letter wishing good luck.
We also met Mr Ajit bhuyan, the famous writer and editor-in-chief of the number one assamese daily ‘ASOMIYA PRATIDIN’, Mr Simanta Kalita, head of CEE-North East, Mrs Anuradha Sharma Pujari, the new generation and most popular writer of Assam to name on forefront. I must say this was like one of the most memorable days for me and Dada---meeting all of them (without any prior appointment), explaining to them the home library concept and receiving their whole-hearted appreciations.
3. Awareness campaign at the local schools, 30th May, 2007
This was part of the publicity campaign. We rightly thought in such a place like Agia, where people just can’t think beyond earning a livelihood, reading books is treated as a luxury by some adults. So, main target should be the local students initially.
My elder bro, me and bro-in-law visited 8 schools and addressed the students. In some schools, the students were asked to gather at a common place and we explained to them the whole concept. In others, it was a classroom to classroom visit, repeating the same contents. All permission and timing issues were taken care on 25th May meeting at my residence.
I had the experience of addressing more than 2000 students at a time. So, it was not a problem. But of course, you will get distracted when a group of girls start whispering in the middle of your lecture ‘This guy has lost all his hair, nobody will marry him’
4. “Maheswar Nath Memorial Trust”
Registration of the library was the priority 1 item before going home, as I already had mentioned in my last blogs. We considered several options and decided to go with the trust option rather than society or NGO. Main reason behind this was easiness in legal formalities, this being a family initiative and the whole aim of non-profit.
Our first meeting with the best advocate in the district court was super frustrating. He discouraged us completely, show casing hundreds of legal formalities and asked us to donate all the books to his trust which in turn runs a private school in the district.
Then we got in touch with Mr Nayan Deep Nath, batch mate of my bro, just 2 years in the profession. Thanks to his young enthusiasm, we registered our trust at the office of district register on 4th June, 09 and also opened a SBI bank account for the trust.
Just imagine, in four days we had it done in such a scenario when the advocate had to go through his class notes for opening trust, and the bank manager had to revisit his rule book and call up higher authorities to understand the guidelines for opening trust account.
I will be publishing a separate blog explaining the objectives of the trust, trustee details and the programs undertaken by the trust.
5. SMRITI KARANDI
This is the name of the souvenir, published in the memory of Deuta. This was a great work accomplished in a particular style by Maa. The souvenir was contributed by people who had known Deuta either directly or indirectly. Starting from his childhood different people expressed their experiences with Deuta. His work, lifestyle, style of thinking, vision, responsibility and all of his dreams were beautifully captured in the souvenir. The souvenir was inaugurated by Sri Birendra Nath, very close friend of Deuta who had given shelter to Deuta in his struggling days and will always be a well wisher to our family.
6. My experience with internet
I must mention as this being the most frustrating experience during my stay at home. My roommate Alvaro and I completed the initial version of a small software to track the daily activity of the library. As my PC was 5 years old, it was not having dependency other than on .NET framework 3.5 SP1. I downloaded the freely available setup file at Hyderabad and brought it home. To my bad luck, that particular sector of my hard disk got corrupted. I was left with no other option but to download again.
I visited all the cyber cafes of my district, several govt/pvt offices and numerous relatives/friends home having broadband connection. Finally I was able to download a 50+ MB file which again needs internet connection to download rest of the files. To add to this--this file shows me the dependency on another framework-- windows installer 3.1 ..Huh!!!!!
Impossible in my district!!!!!
My bro and I drove 100 KM away to a different district, started the same download via phone in 3 of my relatives’ houses located at that district, waited 3 hours, then made backup copies on laptop, external hard disk, pen drive and CD Drive and then returned home. It was 11-30 at night; you won’t believe it, we covered 100KM in 45 minutes.
My PC did not complain after that.
7. Ceremony Day, 1st June, 2009
I have planned to publish a separate blog on the activities of D day—1st June, 2009. This was Deuta’s first death anniversary. The day started with Adhya Shraddha, which started at 6-00 AM and finished by 9-00 AM. Many of my relatives missed the occasion thinking we will be late even though we have specified exact timings. The most common mind set of being late does not work with this family----a lesson learnt by many people, and I must say, a very necessary lesson.
We started with the proceedings of the meeting at 11-30 sharp. For now, I am just listing down the programs chronologically:
a. Addressing the crowd and choosing a president (By Big Bro)
b. Felicitating the president and meeting starts
c. Describing the purpose of the meeting (By me)
d. 1 min silent prayer in memory of my father followed by offering shraddhanjali to father’s portrait
e. Reading of the letter wishing good luck sent by Dr. Nagen Saikia, Former president, Asom Sahitya Sobha.
f. A lecture on Smriti Karandi, the souvenir published in memory of father (By Maa).
g. Inauguration of souvenir by Biren Jetha
h. Felicitating Mr Bruhid Rabha, the 10th position holder in Assam in 12th exam from Agia centre (An initiative from MN Memorial Trust)
i. Short speeches from attendees on the work and philosophy of late father, an effort to relive the memories.
j. A lecture on the home library concept, where we were, where we are now and where we want to be in the future (By me).
k. Lecture by our library inaugurator and chief guest
l. President’s speech and thanks-giving
m. Inauguration of the library.
n. Press Conference for media
o. Lunch service
8. The publicity through local media
We took extra care about the media participation for the event. The local reporters of almost all the leading dailies of Assam participated in the event. The two TV channels of Assam—NEWS LIVE and NE TV were also there. After the meeting we had a small press conference where we discussed all their queries mainly on the trust and the library. I also had an exclusive interview with the TV channels. The news published in various news papers and the news show on TV gave us nice exposure of the post library inauguration.
9. The response from students
One thing that worried us much was the amount of response after opening the library. One of the often-repeated view that come out after 25th may meeting at our home was that we should not get discouraged even if we manage to get only 1 reader in first one week.
But reality had a different story to tell—we got 77 readers in just the first 4 days. Important point is that they are not simply coming as an ignorant user, but have thoughts and enquiries in their mind.
Currently the library is functioning perfectly with my mother as main librarian and other 3 deputy librarians who volunteer on different days of the week. We are thinking of buying some new books particularly to serve the needs of the student community.
Recently I have developed a feeling of regret in my heart—This library should have happened when I was a student. I would have definitely been the first guy to finish all the books in the library and………
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