For the past three months, Tarjani Vakil, 75, has been making telephone calls and sending personal notes to her friends, asking them to help preserve books from Mahatma Gandhi’s collection at Mani Bhavan.
The Nana Chowk-based grandmother was among the first few to sign up for the ‘Adopt-a-Book’ scheme that was launched by Mani Bhavan on October 2 last year. Three months into the launch, the online scheme has already confirmed 83 book ‘adoptions’ from donors, residing in India and abroad.
“The adoption scheme does not permit us to own the hard copy of the book. But ensuring that Gandhi’s books do not end up being mere tattered remains gave me much needed satisfaction,” said Vakil, who adopted JS Bright’s book, ‘The Woman Behind Gandhi’.
“I managed to convince five friends to sign up for the scheme. There are a few who have also adopted multiple books,” added Vakil.The Adopt-a-Book scheme included 276 books, bearing stains, folds and torn pages, for adoption. A brainchild of Mani Bhavan’s committee members, the online scheme accepts contributions — monetary and in kind — from donors across the globe, to conserve the literary treasure. “Several city-based Gandhi followers have shown keen interest in supporting the cause,” said Sandhya Mehta, coordinator and researcher at Mani Bhavan.
As part of the Adopt-a-book scheme, donors can pledge Rs 5,000, Rs 10,000 or Rs 25,000 for the preservation of the books. The books are in the process of being digitised. “Once the books are digitised, we will start conserving the original hardbacks. The treated books will be stored in Mani Bhavan’s library, and will be available for reading by the end of this year,” added Mehta.