by Sameer Majali.
Literature seems to be a thing of the past. It’s been ages since the educated population boasted of reading as a habit. With the advent of moving images in the form of cinema and television, the private corner of personal entertainment that was once a matter of joy, seems to have become a cumbersome exercise for citizens at large. The obvious outcome is the prevalent lack of literary skills and perspective but there seems to be no time for the same amidst the demands of the daily routine of the present generation.
Belgaum Native General Library was established in 1848 by the then collector M.J.D.Invararity. This is heralded as the first library started in Karnataka state. The clock tower on the Library which still stands tall, was built later. The clock tower is now a landmark monument in Belgaum and its pride, situated in the heart of the city, Ganpat Galli. It once boasted of a sizable collection of English, Marathi & Gujrati Books. More importantly, it had people with adequate time and dedication to partake the rich treasure of information and tales from around the globe.
There were seven other libraries or reading rooms established in the region around Belgaum, namely, Library at Chikkodi established in1886, Nippani Library in 1875, Gokak Library in 1865, Athani Library in 1865,
Sampagaon Library in 1866, Khanapur Library in 1868, and Saundatti Library in1870.
Even in the present age, the library has a very rich and rare collection of books. What has depleted over the ages is the number of takers for such activities that really do go beyond routine to add to the knowledge and perspective of those that opt to bury themselves into the pages of the effort of the authors.
It is common for academicians and prominent social representatives to proclaim the fact the books are the greatest treasure available to mankind. However, little seems to be done on the front of promoting the activity of reading as a hobby. It is a well-known fact that learning a language needs reading as a tool and this more than just contributes to the development of communication skills. We have the entire corporate and academic world screaming about the lack of communication in the new generation. The citizens of today and tomorrow have a lot to say and a lot to do. Their mind is pregnant with ideas that go beyond mere innovation but the tongues and the writing tools lack the skill to say it in a manner that would help them make a difference for themselves and others around them.
Unless something as a conscious effort stirs in the academic, social and family domains, institutions of this genre will only remain as landmarks without making any mark on the land that they proudly stand on.