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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Hooked on books? Head to ‘theka’ of ‘desi, angrezi’ literature in Punjab’s Khanna

The library has been started by a teacher couple Darshandeep Singh Gill and his wife Ravinder Kaur and has become quite an attraction for commuters travelling on Khanna-Malerkotla highway.

punjab Updated: Jul 31, 2019 14:08 IST
Mohit Khanna
Mohit Khanna
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
TheTheka Kitab Desi and Angrezi in Khanna, Punjab, is a library started by a teacher couple.
TheTheka Kitab Desi and Angrezi in Khanna, Punjab, is a library started by a teacher couple. (HT Photo )

At a time when liquor vends are dotting the highways and villages in Punjab, this theka or vend with a difference stands tall.

Ditching the traditional English wine or country-made liquor, work of renowned playwrights like Shakespeare and Punjabi poet Surjit Patar adorn the shelves at this vend.

Opened by a teacher couple, Darshandeep Singh Gill and his wife Ravinder Kaur, ‘Theka Kitab Desi te Angerzi’ (library) located on the outskirts of Jargari village in Khanna, has become quite an attraction for the commuters travelling on Khanna -Malerkotla highway.

Gill teaches English at Government Senior Secondary School in Uksi village, Khanna, and his wife is a primary school teacher in Jargari village.

The place has managed to draw attention of the young as well as the elderly of the village.   As many as 100 residents of the village and surrounding areas have enrolled with the library which consists of 2,000 books.

All the books belong to Darshandeep Singh Gill.

“As we both are working in education field, our life revolves around books. My father is also an avid reader. At home, we had a huge collection of books and for a long time, we were thinking of utilising the same so that villagers, particularly the youngsters could benefit,” said Gill.

Thought behind the name

A year ago, the couple decided to convert the one-room quarter located near the tubewell in their field into a library.

The couple refurbished the room and painted Punjabi alphabets on its wall, following which the youngsters began to visit the library.

Gill said that thought of naming the library as theka came around six years ago. “In any village, town or city in Punjab one can easily spot a theka, sharab angrezi and desi.  It has become a synonymous of evil in the society. As we also had a collection of both English and Punjabi books, so we decided to name the library as Theka Kitab Desi te Angerzi,” said Gill.

“The aim was to give a positive connotation to the word and keep youngsters away from the menace of drugs and fall in love with books,” said Gill.

A new outlook

Not going with the typical library ambience, Gill gave a new look to the interiors and offered chairs and beds to the readers instead of the usual furniture.

The porch of the library has been covered with a thatched roof. In order to enhance green cover, Gill has installed saplings around the library.

“We have laid special emphasis on green cover so that youngster visiting the place should feel close to the nature. Besides, I have also painted some Punjabi couplets to attract residents towards the library,” Gill said.

He said that people can subscribe a book for free for 15 days and also donate books.

First Published: Jul 31, 2019 14:08 IST

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