This year, Sangai Festival to have book donation centre

IMPHAL, 17th Oct: Unlike the past editions, Manipur Sangai Festival this year will have a new addition in the form of a special stall or centre, where visitors can donate their unused books towards developing a major library and help poor students with donated textbooks. After the state central library was burnt down in 2005, books donated by several generous individuals helped the government in reviving the library to a great extent. In recognition of their contribution, the then chief librarian felicitated the donors during a public reception in 2012. Unfortunately, the habit of donating books soon dissipated among the public.

However, the new initiative of the government will once again revive the habit among the public by opening a book donation centre during the upcoming Sangai Festival. The state tourism department will present certificate of honour to all those donors, who hand over their unused books of any kind during the 10-day festival, which will begin from November 21. Speaking to The People’s Chronicle, tourism director W Ibohal maintained that the habit of donating books is very low in the state even though every family has some books lying unused. While the poor ones could not afford to buy their required books, the rich one might be looking to read a rare book, which is no more available in the market. Donating those unused books will help in providing an opportunity to the public to get access to rare books. It will also help poor students to get their textbooks free of cost from the department, he said, and added that it was with this vision that the department decided to add the centre as part of the festival.

The idea was initiated by a French journalist, who has assured his full support and dedication in making the initiative a success. The French journalist had already extended benefits to various persons and students by organising one such book donation camp at Guwahati recently, he informed. Ibohal further informed that the department is planning to construct a major library to house the donated books. The books will be classified into different sections and textbooks will be donated to poor and needy students. From this year onwards, the book donation centre will be an integral part of Sangai festival every year, he added.

The culture of donating unused books is common in several European countries and major cities of India like Chennai, Chandigarh and Bengaluru. Textbooks donated by students are provided to poor students free of cost while other books are kept in major libraries for public reference. On the other hand, the director said, the department is planning to add the popular ‘Sumo fight’ of Japan in this year’s Sangai Festival and proposals have been sent to Japan to send their sumo fighters. However, the event is yet to be finalised, he said.

He further said that the curtain raiser event for the festival will be held at New Delhi on November 5. Diplomats of several countries would also be visiting the state’s tourism festival this year, Ibohal added.

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