Tuesday, November 4, 2014

33: Pioneers of Public Library Movement in India: Part-1

इस ब्लॉग्स को सृजन करने में आप सभी से सादर सुझाव आमंत्रित हैं , कृपया अपने सुझाव और प्रविष्टियाँ प्रेषित करे , इसका संपूर्ण कार्य क्षेत्र विश्व ज्ञान समुदाय हैं , जो सभी प्रतियोगियों के कॅरिअर निर्माण महत्त्वपूर्ण योगदान देगा ,आप अपने सुझाव इस मेल पत्ते पर भेज सकते हैं - chandrashekhar.malav@yahoo.com

33: Pioneers of Public Library Movement in India: Part-1   


1. Sayajirao Gaekwad III (1862-1939)

“Education is the basis of all reform and is the only way of salvation from our present condition.”
- H.H. Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III at Aligarh.
Alternate Text
Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad (MSRG) of Baroda (now Vadodara in Gujarat) was not born as a prince, but was adopted as the successor to the throne of Baroda State in the year 1875. His original name was Gopalrao. He was born in March 1862. Maharani Jamanabai, the widow of Maharaja Khanderao adopted him as the heir and successor to the throne. Mr. F.A.H. Elliot was appointed as a tutor to educate MSRG and to prepare him for the Kingship. At the age of 18 in 1881, he was invested with full powers of the Government, the treasury of Baroda State which had a reserve of 1515 million rupees. This was all due to the able administration of Sir T. Madhavrao.

 Sayaji Rao Gaekwad was amongst the foremost of Indian princes who laboured hard  for the good of his subjects. He was a true Indian national. Sayaji Rao was a great man indeed, with a career behind him, of which anyone might be proud of. He gave full opportunities to villagers, so that the village people could achieve real progress and develop.

Following two quotations from his biographies speak much about him:

“Gifted by nature with a remarkable power of brain and a very strong will ….lifted entirely beyond expectation, from the life of a peasant boy to throne and great riches….His Highness Maharaja Sayaji Rao III was marked out for a human experiment of the highest interest.”
                                                                                                                                                                              -Philip Sergeant
“Compared with whole India, Baroda is but a tiny fraction….but it is no mean achievement to have raised Baroda……to a foremost place among the States of India with a government framed on constitutional lines and ….instinct with all the progress of modern science and modern wisdom.”                                                                                                                                              -Stanley P Rice

1.1 Social Reformer

Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad was a pioneer in India for many social reforms. He made a significant contribution towards social upliftment in India by bringing about great social reforms in Baroda State. Some of the major areas where he made social and administrative reforms to uplift the people of Baroda state are:

(1)    Prevention of child marriage;
(2)    Allowed  widow remarriage;
(3)    Removed caste tyranny;
(4)    Abolished unsociability;
(5)    Introduced reforms In agriculture;
(6)    Introduced reforms In revenue;
(7)    Introduced preparation of annual budget and regular audit;
(8)    Established Bank of Baroda in 1908;
(9)    Restored the ancient system of self-government in villages – the panchayat and formation of Dhara Sabha (State Legislative Assembly);
(10) Baroda became First Indian state to build railways on an extensive scale;
(11) Introduced free and compulsory education;
(12) Established  a network of public libraries, etc

Sir Sayajirao’s great reforms were also noted by British Parliament. On March 31, 1908, the Secretary of State thus stated in the Parliament: “I am aware of the measures recently introduced in Baroda. Their results will be watched with interest and will be considered in their bearing on Indian administration generally.”

He started ‘ Kala Bhavan (Home of ART)’ at Baroda for technical education. In one of the orders Sir Sayajirao says “I believe I may safely state that the B.Sc. degree or science education would be of greater help to the development of technical education in this country and at the same time be just as useful, if not more, in practical life than simple B.A. or the Art course ……”.

1.2 Tours to America and Europe

Sir Sayajirao went to Europe in March 1905 and America in May 1906 with a view to study the life and culture of people of these countries. Hence, he went as an observer, a student, and knowledge seeker, so that acquired knowledge and experience could be gained to make Baroda State an ideal state of India. “He enquired into the question of industrial development, agriculture, labour unions, child-rearing, education and libraries.”

During his foreign travels, he was much impressed by the scientific outlook of people of America and Europe. He was also impressed by the tremendous influence of education and free public libraries on the culture and civil life of those countries.

1.3 Interest in Education

Education was the special hobby of Sir Sayajirao for all his working life. He had “no hesitation in saying that we cannot do better than educate all our subjects.”  He was a “Prince among Educators and an Educator among Princes.” His greatest success among the various reforms was “Free and compulsory primary education for all boys and girls of the State.”

MSRG was the father of his people, and father’s duty included the mental as well as the physical welfare of his children. People by themselves would do very little in the cause of public education hence, there was only one way by which his ideal of public education could be attained, and that was compulsion. Hence, MSRG introduced compulsory education. Baroda State was the first State amongst other States in British India to introduce compulsory education. All boys and all girls from 7 to 10 years, were compelled to go to school. He gave special attention to female education. He established training college for women teachers in 1881.

1.4 Library Movement In Baroda State

Closely connected with Compulsory Education is the library movement, which is the special feature of the Baroda State and in which it can claim to be the pioneer in India.

1.4.1 On Public Libraries

MSRG believed that the public library is the people’s University. Neither school nor the college can take a learner to the end of his lifelong journey in the pursuit of knowledge. Library is the only place where a person can continue his lifelong education- a prerequisite for keeping pace with development in the field of knowledge. The collection of books of the library should be selected very carefully and organized properly. His concept of Libraries was as follows:
“Knowledge cannot be attained without self-sacrifice. India is poor and its wants are many; but this is a condition to be resolutely faced, as other nations have faced it in the past and as many others must face it in the future.  The people must rise superior to their circumstances and realize that more knowledge is their greatest need, their greatest want. They must be brought up to love books, not simply attractive bindings or pretty pictures, but their contents. They must be taught to regard books as a part of their lives. Libraries will not then appear a luxury, but a necessity of existence.

For the want of mental sustenance, we lose many of the pleasures and opportunities, God had has placed at our disposal. All of our faculties are not developed. We must educate them and teach others to do the same,  that is what libraries are for. The numbers who avail themselves of the opportunities offered may  be few, but that should not discourage those who, like many of you, are workers in libraries. Your duties and responsibilities are great, greater  even than those of magistrates of Subas (Administrative Heads of Districts). You are the servants of the whole community. You must induce them to read more and more books. Particularly, the children-who are the hope of the future generations.  Mr. Borden realizes the importance of this phase of the work as well as I do, and I have no doubt that his idea will be well carried out by his staff. I have no desire, therefore, to labour the point. One other thing, however, I would urge upon you the importance of the sympathetic and polite treatment of all readers, whatever their condition. I advise library workers to bear  this continually in mind, as on this depends the complete success of the library work.”
   -Sir Sayajirao Gaekwad-At a meeting of the Baroda Central Library Club on October 29th,  1912.

On yet another occasion he said, “ A library must be built up as men are built, slowly and carefully and with consideration of the work to be performed. This is an institution….the work of which, in the future, may help or mar the man by whose hands that future will be formed.”

1.4.2 Public Library Development

Gujarat has a rich heritage of public library movement. MSRG was the pioneer of the library movement in India. He was of the opinion that State aided free public libraries are absolutely essential for continuing education. Money spent on a few years of compulsory primary education would go waste, unless there is an adequate provision for follow-up work as a lifelong process.  Only free public library services can keep masses literate, after formal education is over. Maharaja linked-up  primary education with a free public library as a matter of rule.

The Library movement in Baroda started in 1910, when primary education also was made free and compulsory. The Library department was not founded until 1910, and therefore belongs to the later period of the reign. But the idea had long been simmering in the Maharaja’s mind, and the Library Movement is so essential a part of the whole scheme of cultural advance on which he had set his heart, that it would be an unwarrantable violence to separate it from its context.

The idea took final shape when he visited America. Mr. William Alanson Borden was invited by him to cooperate in the establishment of a complete modern library system in Baroda State. He was one of the America’s first professional librarians. He was Mr. Melvil Dewey’s  colleague. He had studied under C A Cutter. He came to Baroda in 1910 at the age of 57, with excellent background of public libraries. MSRG gave him full freedom to plan and organize public library network in Baroda State. He remained as Director of State Libraries in Baroda until 1913.

During the three years Mr. Borden spent in Baroda, he apparently displayed his ingenuity to the fullest extent and worked  hard.  Mr. Borden with the splendid cooperation of his Indian colleagues was able to work wonders in creating a remarkable Library System in the progressive State of Baroda. Mr W.A.Borden, Mr Motibhai N Amin, Mr J.S. Kudalkar, Mr Newton Mohan Dutt and Mr T.D. Waknis were major resource persons in translating MSRG’s ideology and thinking of library movement, to the implementation stage.

During the tour of Europe, MSRG had an attack of gout in Paris. Hence he returned on 31st October 1938. He died on 6th February 1939 at Jayamahal Palace.

2. William Alanson Borden (1854-1931)

Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad-III of Baroda was an administrator of great foresight. He, could easily realize that for introducing a state-wide system of public library services after the pattern of similar system of services in Western democracies, the help of a foreign expert at the initial stage would be indispensable. His choice fell on Mr. William Alanson Borden, one of the ablest and devoted pioneers among the library experts in USA. Borden was appointed Director of the State Department of Libraries, Baroda in 1910. His first contract with the Baroda State was for one year.
Alternate Text
His excellent personal qualities and professional competence, particularly in the matter of making friends in an alien country and drawing up workable programmes of development, made him so popular and indispensable that the State desired to retain his services as long as possible. He stayed in India for three years and within this brief period organized a State Central Library to serve as the nerve centre and clearing house for a well-planned and coordinated system of public library services at the Prant (sub-divisional), town and village levels with provision for mobile libraries covering remote places otherwise not provided for. There are many glowing counts of the great enthusiasm that was created among the people who came forward to establish public libraries at various levels with their own contributions against a proportionate state grant according to the scheme, introduced by Borden and faith fully executed by inspired and devoted band of  men and women comprising   J.S. Kudalkar, Motibhai N. Amin, Newton Mohan Dutt, B.M. Dadachanji, Mrs. Anandibai Prabhudesai, N.C. Divanji and others.
In an obituary note published in 1932 N.C. Divanji, Superintendent Travelling Libraries and Editor of, ‘Pustakalaya’ (a Library periodical in Gujarati language), one of the persons whom Borden Trained, gave a brief account of the antecedents of Borden up to 1910 as follows:
“Mr William Alanson Borden was born on the 4th April, 1854 at New Bedford in USA. After completing his school education in 1870 he studied for three years in Cornell University and then spent a few years studying law in the office of his father, Mr Alanson Borden, who was a Magistrate. Mr Borden took some time before he discovered that his real vocation in life was that of a librarian. At first, he became a farmer and then a book-binder. He converted his bindery into a library supply house. His interest in the library profession thus aroused, he studied library technique for three years under Mr Charles A. Cutter, one of the founders of modern librarianship, and the inventor of the Expansive Classification and the Cutter Author Tables. After completing his course he assisted in the organization of rural library work in Rochester in 1885. In 1887 he was appointed as a lecturer in the Columbia University Library School under Dr Melvil Dewey. In this school he worked for 5 years. He left it to join his appointment as the librarian of the Linona Library in the Yale University. Later on he organized the Library of the Young Men’s Institute, New Haven.  A children’s room, a library school, and system of travelling libraries were amongst the special features, which he introduced in this library.”
The above facts regarding the life of the person who accepted an invitation in 1910 to introduce a system of public service, the very first of its kind in this country, in the Princely State of Baroda in India situated over ten thousand miles away from his home in USA provide some clue to the expanse of his mental horizon and professional attainments. He was a man of outstanding merit and understanding. Once towards the close of his assignment in India he prepared in April, 1913 an article under the title, ‘Baroda and its Public Libraries’ for being read at the Annual Conference of the American Library Association in that year. The following extracts from the article speak for themselves:
”If the East be appreciated in sympathy she responds fervently and with her best. Whatever measure of success my mission in India has achieved has been largely due to the sympathetic help of his Highness, the Maharaja Gaekwad, and of principal officers, and to the enthusiastic co-operation of my staff of assistants that gathered around me.
Now that my mission here is completed it seems to me that an account of that mission is due to my confreres of the American Library Association. I Would like much to have been able to deliver that account in person, but my contract with the state does not expire until the middle of June and Baroda is ten thousand miles from the Catskills, with no airships running. As I expect to pass the rest of my life in God’s country, provided some library work be forthcoming, I shall probably meet many of you during Library Weeks, or at the future Conventions of the A.L.A.”
 Divanji in his, referred to above, in 1932 wrote: “Mr. Borden was a most hard-working man and while at Baroda he endeared himself to the members of his staff by his affability, courtesy and sympathy. Not only did he love to encourage the budding talents of the youthful members of his staff but both by precept and example, he showed them high aims and sense of public duty which should be the characteristic of a public librarian.”
In 1913 Borden wrote from Baroda to his confreres in USA-“I have been royally treated here, and royally supported. I leave behind me staff of workers I have trained myself, who are entirely competent to carry on the movement.” What better satisfaction and greater achievement could any one expect?
This is but a brief, very brief, account of an eventful phase of the life and work of a great pioneer from USA who fulfilled a noble mission so admirably well in an alien country that will ever remember him with profound gratitude.

3. Motibhai Amin (1873-1939)

Shri Motibhai Amin was born on 29th November 1873 in Alindra village of Kheda District in a Patidar family. He was a  social reformer, educationist, Curator of the state government. He is the icon of inspiration in spreading library movement in the then Princely state of Baroda. He established libraries at many nearby places like – Kheda, Patan, Petlad, Anand and Vadodara. In the true sense of village culture, he was a propagator of education in villages. He believed that each village must have a library which will be used by villagers free of cost. Each member of the society, may be literate or illiterate, must make use of the library. He is called the ‘grand old man’ (Bhism Pitamah) as he engaged himself in the overall development of the libraries situated in the nearby villages. He developed libraries as the laboratories of education. Like a scientist making research in his lab and obtaining results, he opened the doors of libraries for the lovers of education. Motibhai Amin contributed a lot in giving a proper direction to Maharaj Sayajirao Goekwad’s education and library policies. Sayajirao had said ‘libraries are the true universities of humanity”, and Motibhai Amin gave a shape to the policies by establishing the library services in many a villages. An award for the best library in the form of a certificate course has been has been instituted which is still continuing to perpetuate his memory.
Alternate Text
To encourage people, in one of his speech, he once said that “people establish Temples and Dharamshalas but no one thinks to establish a library for the cause of education.” When he established student library in Vaso village, he collected some contribution from some members of the society, but the funds were found insufficient for the purpose, so he pledged to raise the required amount on his own. This was the boldest step on his part who was working as a teacher on a salary of Rs. 60 per month. Such was the enthusiasm  Motibhai  Amin had for the cause of a library. This library was later named after him as `M.N. Amin Public Library’. 

3.1 Reading Culture

Motibhai Amin was a lover of education and loved educational activities. He believed that library is the foundation of education. Hence he started the library movement. He worked for the promotion of reading habit among students, adult men and women. In his book The history of library system, he wrote “as the American businessman try hard for the marketing of their products, in the same way the librarians there also try their best to persuade people, to read more and more books. That’s why the reading habit among the Americans has increased. The same type of efforts are required in India too.”

3.2 Major Contributions

In his life he gave preference to library activities and performed the following acts:
  1. In 1906 he established the first public library at village Petlad in Gujarat named as ‘Mitramandal Pustakalay’
  2. With his untiring efforts, the library established at Vaso in 1890, started getting grants and its Library building was inaugurated at the hands of Shri Sampatraoji Gaikwad
  3. Having observed the project to spread knowledge and public education in America Shri Sayajirao Gaikwad of Baroda State established a separate Department of Library and-appointed Motibhai Amin as Assistant Curator. About 8,000 books ware packed in boxes and sent to different libraries to be issued to readers of 18 villages.
  4. In 1890 he also established another library for students at Vaso and with his friends started managing its affairs.
  5. Motibhai also started a `mobile library’ on the line of America, in Vadodara State in 1911 and got approved by the British Officer William Allenson Borden and got a grant of Rs. 6000. He bought books worth the amount, packed them in 150 boxes. This project profited many villages.
  6. Motibhai established libraries in Kadi,  6 in Amreli, 9 in Navsari, and 14 in Vadodara. Under the supervision of Department of Education, he established 200 libraries beside 240 small village libraries.
  7. He also framed rules for application for registration and obtaining grants for establishing a library. He also made people to follow them.
  8. He submitted a project for the establishment of libraries and obtained additional grants.
  9. He also started library science education because there were no trained hands. He arranged to train them through the government department.
  10. He started a quarterly journal entitled `Pustakalay’ which is being published by Pustakalya Sahayak Sahakari Mandal.
  11. He also compiled all the G.Rs and published them in two parts.
  12. He arranged the State Level Conference on 12th and 13th April 1925. He organized the Platinum Jubilee Celebration of the first public library of Vadodara.
  13. He believed that women also must be educated. So he established Children’s and Women’s Libraries.
  14. He also established libraries in every school. He believed that as mother reforms and provides training to a child – the teacher also should reform the children through the library.
He died on February 1, 1939.

4. Newton Mohan Dutt

Mr Newton Mohan Dutt was Curator of State Libraries, Baroda. He joined the Department  of Public Libraries in 1914. He served the Department in different  capacities. After the exit of Mr William Alanson Borden Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad sent Mr J.S.  Kudalkar abroad to study the libraries of the world. Initially he appointed Mr. Motibhai  N. Amin as acting Curator of Libraries in 1913. He was  replaced by Mr. Newton Mohan Dutt as acting Curator of Libraries in 1914.
 Alternate Text
Mr Dutt brought out the second edition of the Baroda Library Handbook in 1921. The third edition was brought out by him in 1924.

Mr Dutt took active part along with Mr Motibhai  N. Amin in organising Baroda Library Association in 1925 and played a key role in its conferences organised at Gandevi in 1925; at Dwaraka in 1926, and  at Petlad in 1928. He was also instrumental in the establishment of Baroda Pustakalaya Sahayak Sahakari Mandal in 1925; formation of the First Tuluka Library Association at Vashodia (in 1926). He was also responsible for bringing out The Baroda Library Movement1911-1925 in Gujarati in 1927.

Mr V.T. Krishnama Chari, the then Dewan of Baroda once said about Newton Mohan Dutt that “the success of Baroda Library Department is due in no small measure to his (Dutt’s) enthusiasm.” 

5. J. S. Kudalkar (1882 – 1921)

Shri Janardhan S. Kudalkar was born in 1882 in a poor goldsmith family in Mumbai. Soon after his birth he lost his father. Events that followed proved as if the poor orphan was destined to grow up as a highly educated and cultured man in order to blaze the path of the Library Movement in India with his brilliant intellect and ability and then suddenly slip away at an early age of 39 years leaving generations of Indian librarians to mourn his loss. If Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad-III is the father of Library Movement in India, if W. A. Borden is the maker of the first blueprint of this Movement, then Kudalkar is the first administrator, and a very able one as such who gave life and content to the Library Movement.
Alternate Text

5.1 Education and career

Through unusual industry, perseverance and devotion to studies Kudalkar overcame the utter helplessness and poor conditions of his childhood and pursued his education. All through he earned scholarships and stipends for his proficiencies and outstanding performance in school and college. He passed M.A. examination of the Bombay University in 1905 and later also took the LL.B. degree of the same University. Soon after completion of his studies he was appointed Professor of Sanskrit at Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College at Lahore and served there until he was appointed Librarian in the Maharaja’s Palace Library, which soon became the nerve center of the State-wide Public Library System in Baroda.

Sir Sayajirao  Gaekwad was a very shrewd administrator. It will be observed that before he invited W.A. Borden, a library expert from the U.S.A. in 1910 to draw up a blueprint of a State-wide system of Public Library Service, the first of its kind in India, he had chosen the proper local man who would, in fact, execute the programme of Public Library development to be chalked out by the foreign expert who was to be there only for a brief period. The sagacious ruler being himself born of a modest peasant family had an intense sympathy for the deserving among the humblest sections of the society. His noble sentiments and state policy in this regard are fully reflected in his many uttering.

5.2 Curator of Libraries

When W.A.Borden took over as the first Director of the State Department of Public Libraries, Baroda, the Gaekwad appointed J.S. Kudalkar as his Principal Assistant with the designation of Assistant Director. He knew what a wise planner and successful guide Borden was. It was the unique combination of a great patron like the Gaekwad, a wise adviser like Borden and an exceptionally capable and devoted under-study like Kudalkar that laid the foundation of the Baroda Public Library System. Borden was convinced that the Gaekwad had the desire and the resources to support a Statewide Public Library System and Kudalkar had got the intellectual attainments and administrative acumen to translate into action the blueprint of a comprehensive system of modern Public Library Service that he could prepare and initiate preliminary action before he left this country. Borden was pleased to say before he left India after a brief stay of about three years, that he was leaving behind “staff of workers I have trained myself, who are entirely competent to carry on the Movement.”

5.3 Library Tours in Foreign Countries

Sir Gaekwad was so pleased with the work of J. S. Kudalkar that he deputed him at considerable State expense to study on-the-spot, the Public Library System in countries of Europe, United States of   America and Japan. “The selection is a very happy one for Mr Kudalkar   who is gifted in a notable degree with all the qualifications which are essential in a man who is to be the Head of the Central Library Department. The event is notable one in the annals of the Indian Libraries as this is the first time an Indian goes to foreign countries for such a purpose. We might with good reason cherish the hope that the event will serve the very useful purpose of bringing the extreme importance of the Library Profession into prominence.” (Library Miscellany, May 1913, p. 218).

After making extensive study of the library system in different countries, particularly in the U.S.A., he returned to Baroda in 1915 to take over as the worthy successor of Borden as Director of the Department of Libraries of the State. He took up his onerous assignment with great enthusiasm and promise. The Central Library at Baroda, the town and village libraries, the mobile library  units, the in-service training courses for librarians, and all other programmes planned by Borden received his able handling. Borden also initiated publication of a quarterly journal, the very first of its kind in India to propagate the message of Library Movement in this country. The first issue of the journal under the title Library Miscellany came out in August, 1912. Kudalkar who was a person of considerable learning and experience as a writer became its Editor. He ably edited the journal that at once earned reputation as a first-rate library periodical. The issue of the journal published some months before his death was, unfortunately, the last issue of the first library journal in India. His writings on Tilakwada copperplate inscriptions, the Jain Manuscript Bhandar at Sat Patan etc., bore the stamp of his erudition in oriental studies. He represented the Baroda State Government at the Oriental Conference held in 1919 at Poona and read a research paper there. He was an eminent Marathi Scholar and regularly contributed to periodicals in that language. In 1917, he read an excellent article on Juvenile Literature at the Ninth Marathi Library Conference held at Indore. The Maharaja also entrusted to him the work in connection with the compilation of the ‘Gaekwad’s Oriental Series’ that started publication under his direction.

5.4 Scholarship

His fame as a library administrator and pioneer of the Library Movement spread all over the country. His advice used to be sought by all other Provinces and Princely States wherefrom batches of library enthusiasts started coming to Baroda for training under him. When the library workers in Andhra convened the First All-India Public Libraries Conference in Madras in 1919, the honour of presiding over that Conference rightly went to J.S. Kudalkar. A galaxy of great men like  B.N. Sharma, K.V. Rangaswami Iyenger, C. Vijayragava Iyenger, S. Kasturi Ranga Iyenger, T Prakasham, G.S.Arundale, K. Nageswara Rao Pantulu, C.P. Ramaswami Iyer, S. Sreenivasa Iyenger and others attended this Conference. Before a distinguished audience like this Kudalkar delivered an impressive Presidential speech covering references to our cultural heritage, value of books and libraries in the life of a nation, the need for propagation of the modern Library Movement for the cultural regeneration of this country, and various aspects of library work and library services. When as a sequel to this Conference the All-India Public Libraries Association was formed in 1920, Kudalkar was elected President of this Association towards formation of which his contribution was great indeed.

In 1921, a devastating influenza epidemic broke out in Baroda and, alas, Janardhan Kudalkar fell a victim after a brief but virulent attack. The cruel hand of death thus removed on the 13th March, 1921 the foremost organizer and devoted pioneer of the modern Library Movement that had just started gathering momentum at that time. When the Second Session of the All-India Public Library Conference was held in Coconada in 1923 under the presidency of Dr M.R. Jayakar, the Conference deeply mourned the irreparable loss of J.S. Kudalkar, the most outstanding friend, philosopher and guide of the rising generation of librarians and promoters of the Library Movement.

6. Master Motilal Ji (1876-1949)

Master Motilalji was born on 25th April, 1876 in the Chomu town of Jaipur district of the present State of Rajasthan. Chomu has been a renowned Tazimi Thikana of  the erstwhile State of Jaipur. Shri Laduram, the grandfather of Master Sahib, was the Kamadar of Thikana and a very eminent and respectable person of Chomu. Shri Laduram had three sons, (1) Shri Vijaya Lal. (2)Shri Panna Lal and (3) Shri Jauhari Lal. Master Motilal was the son of Shri Vijaya Lal. Master Sahib studied up to the sixth standard (upper primary) in Chomu itself. As facilities for further education were not available at Chomu, he came to Jaipur and in 1897 he passed from here the matriculation examination of the University of Allahabad. He gave up his formal education in 1899 when he was studying in the Intermediate class.
He earned his living for many years by undertaking tuitions after he had left college. On 27th October. 1907 he was appointed as the Headmaster of a vernacular Middle School in Jaipur. At that time his monthly salary was Rs.15/-. Nearly after a year when this school was closed, he was appointed as an assistant teacher in the Maharaja Collegiate High School on the same salary. On 20th July 1917, he was transferred to the Shivapole Middle School on the same post and salary. Later on he got an increment of Rs. 5 in this institution on May 1, 1920. After this he got two increments of Rs. 5/- each up to 1923, and thus on September 1, 1923 he was drawing a monthly salary of Rs, 30. In July 1925, Master Sahib was transferred to the Chandpole High School and there he got an annual increment of Rs. 2 in a scale of Rs. 24-2-40. Master Sahib continued to teach mathematics in this High School up to 1937. And in the month of November of the same year after completing 30 years of Government service, he retired on a pension of Rs. 20i" at the age of 61. For the rest of his life he continued to draw this sum as Government pension. 

6.1 Establishment of Shri Sanmati Pustakalaya

Earlier Master Sahib used to spend a certain 'portion of his income, roughly Rs,. 7 or Rs. 8 on feeding the poor in order to render some service to community, or bringing some millet for the pigeons. Now he began to spend nearly Rs. 10 on buying books on spiritual subjects. He had already some books with him. Thus in a very short period he made a collection of about a thousand or fifteen hundred books. With this collection he started Sanmati Pustakalaya in 1920, at a short distance away from his residence. In addition to his work of teaching he went to the houses of his acquaintances, friends and other respected persons with these books (during spare hours in morning, evening or on school holidays) and gave these to them, keeping in mind their taste and competence. Not only did he insist on their reading these books, but he impressed upon them the need of self-knowledge in life along with the value of following the right path. Himself he went to them again to collect these books back when they were due and left other books with them. If some one could not read owing to slackness, he explained to him the need and importance of study, and inspired him to read and develop taste for books. 

6.2 Devotion to the Pustakalaya

In the beginning Master Sahib could devote to the Pustakalaya only his spare time after teaching. But he began to devote more time and energy to the Pustakalaya as it grew. After his retirement he started spending his whole time and later on he went to his home only to take meals. For the rest of time during day and night he stayed in the Pustakalaya and put in every ounce of his energy and every second of his time into it. He was not only the founder and patron of the Sanmati Pustakalaya, but he was its manager, writer and peon also--everything himself. Thus in the Pustakalaya he did everything himself right from dusting, buying and wrapping covers on books, their accessioning in the register, and finally their issuing too, and collection back from the readers both at their homes and in the Pustakalaya. 

6.3 Frugal Habits

As for food habits, Master Sahib strongly insisted that they should not be determined by taste. His dress, too, remained very simple and frugal throughout his life. He strongly supported the idea that the clothes should be cheap, lasting and Swadeshi. He always used ordinary check cloth or Reji or Dusuti (coarse cloth) hand-woven in Chomu or Jaipur. Similarly his shoes were also of native cut. Thus his food, dress and living, all were entirely local, simple and helpful to the native people in their indigenous occupations. 

6.4 An Ideal Personality

To help the students was the main aim of Master Sahib's life. Both professionally and ideally he remained a teacher throughout. Besides his professional work, he taught students free of charge. Not only this, he readily extended help to the needy students with text books and otherwise as long as he lived. He bought books for them from his own pocket; he exhorted the successful students to pass on to the Pustakalaya such books which they did not require, so that other students could use them. He saw to it that such books were straightway passed on to the needy students. 

7. Conclusion

The initiatives taken and reforms introduced by Sir Maharaja Sayaji Rao Gaekwad-III have been an eye opener in laying the solid foundation of library movement in India. Team comprising William Alanson Borden, Motibhai N Amin, J S Kudalkar and Newton Mohan Dutt formed in 1910 did a wonderful work, which became a model for other Indian states to follow. The other model, though small, is that of Master Motilalji, who single handedly  without the support of government built and ran a public library in Jaipur, populary called Sanmati Pustakalaya.  


1. Shah, P. C. “ Sir Sayaji Rao Gaekwad III: A social reformer and library movement pioneer in
India”.  in ILA Diamond Jubilee Souvenir, edited by C.P.Vashishth and A.P.Gakhar. Delhi, Indian
Library Association, 1994. p.74-81

2. Jain,  Prakash:” William Alanson Borden (1854-193).” i Library Movement and Library Development in Gujarat, edited by P.S.G. Kumar.  New Delhi: B.R . Publishing Corporation.2009.p. 472-475

3. Jain ,Prakash.” Motibhai Amin”. i Library Movement and Library Development in Gujarat, edited by P.S.G. Kumar.  New Delhi: B.R . Publishing Corporation.2009.p. 475-478.

4. “ Dutt, Newton Mohan.” i Library Movement and Library Development in Gujarat, edited by P.S.G.
Kumar.  New Delhi: B.R . Publishing Corporation.2009.p.  483

5. Chakravarthy, N.C. “Lest we forget-3.” Indian Library Association Bulletin 3, no.3 (1967):152-54
6. “Master Motilal Ji” in Library Movement and Library Development in Rajasthan, edited by P.S.G.Kuma. Delhi: B.R.Publishing Corporation.2010.p. 439-42

Web links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayajirao_Gaekwad_III accessed on 31/07/2013
http://www.google.co.in/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=inauthor:%22Shri+Sanmati+Pustakalaya%22 accessed on 31/07/2013
http://books.google.co.in/books?id=w8MYAAAAMAAJ&q=inauthor:%22Shri+Sanmati+Pustakalaya%22&dq=inauthor:%22Shri+Sanmati+Pustakalaya%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=NbP4UZnsOMPOrQfr5IGgBw&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA accessed on 31/07/2013

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