Bandipora, a small village located in the northernmost Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, is on its way to becoming the largest book village in the country. With a population of just over 13,000, the village has already earned the nickname of “Kashmir’s Book Village”. The initiative is aimed at promoting the culture of reading among the local population, and creating a space for visitors to indulge in the love of books.
The project was launched in 2018 by the local administration, in collaboration with the Bookworm Trust, an NGO based in the United Kingdom that works towards promoting reading and education. The idea was to convert the village into a hub of books, where visitors could browse through an extensive collection of books, attend book fairs and literary events, and interact with authors and publishers.
The initiative has already gained significant momentum, with over 20 bookshops and libraries being set up in the village. The village now boasts of over 200,000 books, covering a wide range of genres, including literature, history, science, and philosophy. Visitors can find books in a variety of languages, including English, Urdu, and Kashmiri, as well as in Hindi and other regional languages.
The Bandipora village has also been attracting attention from publishers, who are eager to showcase their books to the readers in the region. The local administration has been working closely with publishers to organize book fairs and literary festivals, which have been attended by both locals and tourists from across the country.
The initiative has had a significant impact on the local population, particularly the younger generation. Reading has become a popular pastime among the youth, with many schools and colleges organizing book clubs and reading sessions. The project has also created employment opportunities for the locals, with many of them being employed in the bookshops and libraries.
The success of the project has also inspired other villages across the country to follow suit. Several villages in other parts of India, including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and West Bengal, have started their own book village projects, with the aim of promoting reading and literature in their respective regions.
The project has not been without its challenges, however. The lack of infrastructure, including proper roads and transportation, has made it difficult for visitors to access the village. The local administration has been working towards addressing these issues, with plans to improve connectivity and other amenities in the village.
The Bandipora book village project is a shining example of how initiatives aimed at promoting reading and literature can have a significant impact on the local population. The project has not only created a space for book lovers to indulge in their passion, but has also had a positive impact on the local economy and employment. With the support of the local administration and the Bookworm Trust, the project is set to become the largest book village in the country, and a model for other villages to follow.
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