Bandipora Village In Kashmir To Become India’s Largest Book Village

‘Sarhad’ a Pune-based non-government organisation is all set to convert Aragam village of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district into India’s largest book village in collaboration with the Jammu and Kashmir government.
The NGO has submitted a proposal which has already been discussed with the District administration to create a book village in Aragam village in collaboration with the J-K government.

Explaining why it has chosen the Aragam village, an NGO official said, “The village is located in the scenic region where the beauty of nature can solace to the visitors’ minds and make them more creative and probe the fundamental questions of life.”
“There cannot be such a place equal to Aragam in Kashmir that has a great potential to make a group and cultural village where unparalleled natural beauty can inspire to probe into Kashmiri literature and rich history of Kashmir, besides witnessing an astounding culture,” he added.

He also said that ideally located nestled amidst the pristine forests of the Himalayas along the banks of Asia’s second-largest freshwater Wular lake in the district.

“Teeming with inspiration for art and literature-scenic beauty, diverse, cultural natural trails for leisurely walks and several locations for trout fishing while enjoying the books,” he added.

Giving details about the book village, the NGO official said, “The book village idea, though not new, in this concept it will be a unique destination where visitors can get absorbed into the ancient to modern literature and history of Kashmir and can get to introduce to its folk culture intimately.”

The visitors, NGO said, will find books almost everywhere and places to read at leisure.

Talking about the concept, he said, “It will be a village where ancient manuscripts, paintings and artificials from Kashmir will be on constant exhibition. The new and old books will be made available to read and contemplate, adding that it will be a village where folk culture will be showcased, besides the author’s historians and nature lovers will visit for their solace.“

He further said that a room would be constructed where literary discussions and cultural shows can take place, whose walls would be used to display the artwork of various artists on a rotation basis.

“Library complex will consist of a main building which will house a huge library for regular use of litterateurs and community and will have books in 6 languages initially English, Urdu, Kashmiri, Hindi, Marathi & Bengali,” he added.

He also said that audiobooks also will be made available for visitors who can listen to books of their choice while on a stroll or trek. “To facilitate these two three-storied structures to be constructed to house the books with sufficient reading tables,“ the official said.

“Special room to house antique/valuable books and manuscripts computer room with internet access for use by visitors on a payment basis, adding that general reading room comprising newspapers and magazines for the public to read will also be available,“ said the official.

“Library to be run in a professional manner which will have its own management committee comprising government and community which is elected and staff to be recruited by the management for running the library,” he added.

Notably, the Sarhad, which is known for its diversified social work in border states like Punjab, J-K, Ladakh and the north-east, has also done mountainous work in the field of literature and music.

The NGO official also noted that Sarhad has planned Apple Tourism and Border Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, adding that the Book Village can be comfortably integrated into the tourist circuits to increase footfall and spread awareness about the Book Village.

He further said that there are more than six schools, two hospitals and one panchayat in the village where books can be made available.

“More than 50 householders in Aragam are ready to keep books in their houses with the responsibility to preserve books under the guidelines provided by Sarhad NGO,” he said.

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