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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

History neglected:Ram Mohan Roy's exclusive collection eats dust

Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, June 11, 2014
First Published: 20:57 IST(11/6/2014) | Last Updated: 21:03 IST(11/6/2014)

Of the crores of rupees that the Punjab government spends every year to preserve history, not a penny seems to come to the district library here, where rare books of the colonial rule eat dust.

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One of the oldest public archives in the state, it has only two people protecting the 60,000 records. Life membership of Jind State Public Library that erstwhile maharaja Ranbir Singh Jind built in 1913 costs just `20. The oldest book on its shelves was published in 1912.

The place holding the exclusive collection of late 18th- and early 19th-century social reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Father of Indian Renaissance, wears a deserted look from outside, although it has more than 5,300 members.

"Thousands of libraries in the country have been upgraded and brought online but we don't have even a computer," said one the employees at the library, on the condition of anonymity, adding: "We also don't have sweepers and caretakers, and in spite of the low membership fee, no new readers, as nobody likes to sit in a library that is not air-conditioned."

The state education department runs the library but a regular member since 1990 said he had never seen any officer from it visiting for inspection. The 3.5-acre facility has only two permanent employees: a restorer and a peon. It requires gardeners and sweepers urgently.

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