34:Pioneers of Public Library Movement Part-2
5. Gadicherla Harisarvottam Rao (1883-1960)5
Those who had the privilege of knowing Harisarvottama Rao will remember what an experience it used to be to meet him. He was like an active dynamo always in motion. His venerable pure khadi-clad robust physique in all its bearing at once gave an impression that there was a true representative of the poor common man of India. He looked very much like a working kisan(farmer) with scant but scrupulously clean clothes. Throughout his long active life extending over a period of nearly six decades he did one thing - he served his people and he served them so faithfully and so well. In All-India Library Conferences he moved like an institution by himself. He was indeed an institution and unique one for that matter in library conferences, particularly towards the end of his life, as there were few among the participants who could claim even a fraction of the amount of sacrifices that he made for the cause of service to the nation through libraries and adult education.
The movement for Swaraj, initiated by the Indian National Congress, received a tremendous impetus right at the time when Shri Harisarvottama Rao completed his formal education. Lord Curzon’s plan of the partition of Bengal in 1905 provided the spark for blazing the trail of an intensive nation-wide movement for liberation from the British rule. The gems of public men, scholars and orators threw themselves in the forefront of the movement. Shri Rao soon came into contact with a great scholar and, perhaps, the greatest orator in India of the time, Shri Bepin Chandra Pal and fell completely under his spell. It is worth recording here that Shri Pal was not only great historian, patriot and orator, he was also a great librarian being the Librarian of the Culcutta Public Library from 1890 to 1900. This was a significant coincidence indeed. May be, Sri Rao’s lifelong association thereafter with libraries and adult education had something to do with this contact with one among our eminent and senior-most pioneers in library profession..
Shri Rao began taking active part in the freedom movement from 1906. The same year he founded association, named as Vignana Chandrika Mandali with the object of sponsoring and publishing good literature in the mother tongue of the people, Telugu. He was essentially a worker and not a preceptor. So he took upon himself to prepare the first book to be published by the Association. The first publication was excellent translation in Telugu of a standard work on the life of the great hero of the American Library Movement, Abraham Lincoln. The translation was, of course, done entirely by Shri Rao himself. Later under his inspired leadership the Association published quite a few more books, some of which are till today considered as classics in Telugu literature. Simultaneously, Shri Rao became the Editor of ‘Swarajya’ (Telugu weekly edition) in 1907. His vigorous participation in many kinds of nation-building activities and forceful writings propagating the freedom movement and spread of education could no longer be tolerated by the then government. In 1908 he was sentenced to imprisonment on a charge of sedition and was kept behind the bar for three years. The Madras Government carried its vengeance against him quite far. To block his way to earning his livelihood by taking up a job of a teacher, the Government issued an order prohibiting his appointment in any school in the province. This prohibitory order remained in force till it was rescinded by the first National Congress Government that assumed power in the province in 1937.
In 1914 he became the first Editor of the daily Telugu edition of ‘Andhra Patrika’ and served for about three years in that capacity. In 1917 he was chosen as the Secretary of the Andhra Home Rule League. From 1927 to 1930 he served as a Member of the Madras Legislative Council. He was also elected as a member of the Andhra University Senate for some years during this period. The National Government in Madras appointed him Honorary Director and Organiser, Adult Education, Madras in 1937. During the same period he also became Vice-President of the South Indian Adult Education Association, and Editor of ‘South Indian Adult Education Review’. From this time onwards till his death in 1960 he devoted himself fully to adult education and library movement work. He took over as Editor of ‘Granthalaya Sarwaswamu’ and as President of the Andhra Desa Granthalaya Sangha (now known as Andhra Pradesh Library Association) and the latter position he held with unique distinction and dedication till his death. In-between he held many responsible positions and rendered valuable services in the field of his life’s mission.
In 1946, his 60th birthday. Ceremony, sponsored by the Andhra Desa Library Association, was celebrated with great enthusiasm. The same year he was made President of the Granthalaya Trust and when the Trust constructed a fine building to house the Andhra Desa Library Association and allied organizations, it was formally declared open in 1949 being named after him as ‘Sarvottama Bhavanam’: In 1953, he directed an All-India Adult Education Seminar at Bikram in Bihar. In 1955, he participated as a delegate in the deliberations of the UNESCO Seminar on Development of Public Libraries in Asia, held in Delhi.
It is common knowledge that the Andhra Pradesh Library Association is not only the first library association in India but also that its long records of service stand foremost in quality and quantity in the annals of our Library Movement in India. Shri Harisarvottama Rao was associated with the Library Movement in Andhra from its very inception. He was essentially a selfless worker who shunned the limelight and dealt with men and affairs in a straightforward manner. His educational attainments and literary merit were of an order that had he chosen the normal life of careerist, educationist or journalist, possibly no position in these fields could be beyond his reach. The approach has a great relevance to conditions in our rural areas and it is the claim of the rural areas on our library services that always attracted the attention of Shri Rao whom we remember today with gratitude and reverence as a true representative of the village India which forms the heart of India.
Shri Harisarvottama Rao was also the Vice-President of the Indian Library Association for some years. In 1953 he invited the All-India Library Conference held at Hyderabad. That was the last All-India Library Conference that he attended. He is no more with us but his inspiring examples and benign influence will always weigh high in all our programmes having bearing on public library development.
6. Paturi Nagabhushanam (1907-1987)6
As a student of Edward High School, Nidubrole, Paturi conducted a night school for adults at Machavanam for two years. In all the summer camps he conducted as Secretary, Andhra Desa Grandhalaya Sangham, he inspired many young men to take up this task, which is holy and makes the participants shed the ‘holier than thou’ attitude. The pure white snow on the peaks of the Everest is of no use. When it is melted by the heat of the Sun and flows into the plains it is useful. The case of knowledge is not dissimilar. His life-long association with adult education programmes made him publish Shri G. Harisarvottama Rao’s books and Charts on adult education and Gora’s “Our Lessons”. He was
1.Elected Member of the Council of Indian Adult Association;
2. Regional Secretary, South Indian Adult Education Association, Madras;
3. Director, South Indian Adult Education Co-operative Publishing Society Limited, Madras;
4. Appointed as one of the judges for evaluating the books written for Neo-literates; and
5. Secretary, Reception Committee, and organiser of the Andhra Desa Adult Education Special Conference, Tenali.
Posts were thrust upon him and he enhanced their honour with his individual stamp. Note the list of posts he held in the library movement. He was
1. Secretary and Librarian, Bala Saraswathi Library, Pedapalem. Here he started his work. His novel Boat Library Service which he ran for seven years made him known throughout India and in some quarters of the world.
2. He donated 1,000 books and collected six thousand more making it a Central Library, ultimately serving nearly 40 villages with two branches in Duggirala and Pedavadlapudi in Guntur District. It is known as Sevasrama Vanee Mandiram of which he was the curator;
3. Secretary, Tenali Taluk Library Association, Guntur District;
4. Secretary, Guntur District Library Association;
5. Secretary, Andhra Pradesh Library Association since June, 1938;
6. Honorary Secretary and Correspondent, Andhra Granthalaya Trust;
7. Member, State Library Committee for 20 years;
8. Member, Guntur District Local Library Authority for one term;
9. Member for two terms of the Krishna District Local Library Authority;
10. Editor, Andhra Granthalayam Quarterly for one year;
11. Editor of Granthalaya Sarvaswamu since the beginning of the publication of 12th Volume;
12. One of the 5 Members of the drafting Committee appointed by the State Library Committee of Andhra Pradesh to write up the draft bill of Andhra Pradesh Public Libraries Act;
13. Council Member, Indian Library Association
The list of activities reveals the super human energy spent with single minded devotion for the cause of the libraries.
6.1 Gandhian Way of Life
-Andhra Pradesh Gandhi Samraka Nidhi’s State Board;.
-Gandhi Thathawa Pracharak, Vijayawada Centre;.
-Editorial Board, Gandhian Literature Publication Committee.
6.2 Freedom Fighter
When Paturi Nagabhushanam was elected Secretary of Rama Mohan Free Library he was given only a short manuscript of minutes and a rack. Today, we see Sarvottama Bhavanam and Bapuji Mandir and Goteti Jogi Raju Building and extent of Land measuring one acre costing Rs. 840 per square yards. Besides propagating the movement of Library ideas and adult education, he had his achievements in concrete shape in the form of Buildings and Books.
Sri Nagabhushanam combined in himself the roles of a teacher, preacher, propagandist above all a constructive thinker. The buildings he caused to be constructed and the books he gathered remind us of the drops of sweat he shed. For he did manual labour also along with Late Komma Sitaramayya.
7. T S Avinashilingam Chettiar (1903-1991) 7
8. S R Ranganathan (1892-1972)8
Dr S R Ranganathan was born on 12th August 1892 in Shirikali in Tamil Nadu. He graduated from Madras University and did LT from the Teachers Training College, Saidapet, Madras. Served as Lecturer in Mathematics and Physics at Mangalore, Bangalore, etc. He was selected as the Librarian of the Madras University in 1924. He had his basic grinding in librarianship in UK. He was the Founder Secretary of Madras Library Association (MALA) and did yeomen service. MALA started Mobile Library Service on 21st October in 1931 for serving the villages within a radius of 82 miles from the town Kumaramanglam at Mannargudi, Tamil Nadu to liquidate illiteracy among the rural folk and to arouse interest in book among them . The `bullock cart’ used for this Mobile Library was designed by Mr S V Pillai, an engineer (LIS 5 p.449). His Model Library Bill was also circulated by MALA to various local bodies viz District Board, Municipalities, Talukas and Panchayats in Madras State (LIS 5 p.449). Yet an other service initiated by MALA under the leadership of S R Ranganathan for the first time in 1931 was the starting of Prison Library Service. With the efforts of MALA in 1933 the” Local Railway Companies at Madras agreed to charge half parcel rate for book exchanged between libraries and readers.” (LIS 5 p.452). Earlier as Librarian of the Madras University he had extended `Door Delivery System to Teachers of Affiliated Colleges in 1928 .’ He introduced `Open Access’ in the Madras University Library in 1929. At the insistence of MALA the Director of Public Instruction, Madras made 2 hours of library work compulsory in all high school classes. A memorandum was prepared by S R Ranganathan to the utilization of these periods, which was approved by Secondary School Leaving Certificate Board of Madras(LIS 5. P.453). In 1935 MALA started library tours in the villages to work with the help of village library groups in the villages for the removal of illiteracy of adults over 14 years of age. The Scheme was that a literate member was to teach some 10 illiterates near about him in leisure hours with a special text and copy book prepared by them for teaching(LIS 5. P.454).
He gave several new theories in Library management, particularly in library classification. He was President, Indian Library Association; Vice-President of FID and the Library Association, UK. He wrote several books and technical papers. Founded DRTC in 1962 under Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Calcutta.
9. S Janardhanam Naidu
10. Krishnaswami iyyar, K. V. (1883-1965)10
Mr. Ayyar was an eminent person of education and imagination. Soon after the formation of the Association he took up compilation of a motley collection of essays in five languages (English, Tamil, Telgu, Canarese and Malayalam) used in the then composite Province of Madras. The opening essay in the compilation, ‘The Library Movement was by Rabindra Nath Tagore and other contributors were eminent men like, S. Satyamurti, Pattabhi Sitaramayya, C.P. Ramaswami Ayyar, Dr. S. Radhakrishan & others. Mr. Ayyar himself contributed as many as four essays in the English Section of the collection. Viscount Goschen of Hankhurst, the then Governor of Madras sent a message for inclusion in the collection. Remarks of Rt. Honorable V.S. Srinivasa Sastri in his foreword to the collection as quoted below will show what stuff Mr. Ayyar was made of:
“ As an ardent well-wisher of the new means of national uplift, I cannot forbear to note in conclusion one good omen. The Movement in Madras has been taken up in earnest by one of our most energetic and zealous workers, Mr. K.V. Krishnaswami Ayyar, unlike other public workers, begins his career as a servant of the community, with a good record of useful activity. To dare to narrow one’s range, to define one’s aims precisely, and to labour persistently till results are achieved, are virtues of public life of which he possesses an uncommon share”.
Few could aspire for such encomium from a person of the reputation and standing of the Rt. Hon. Srinivasa Sastri. Mr. Ayyar provided conclusive proof of his qualities of head and heart right from the moment he look up the case of Library Movement.
As a compilation of essays by diverse hands on various aspects of our modern library work and management, ‘The Library Movement’, issued by the Madras Library Association in 1929 soon after its establishment in 1928, will always remain as a classic on the subject. We can have a glimpse of the extent to which Mr. Ayyar was knowledgeable and pragmatic in this field of his activity from the following extracts taken out of one of his articles (The Scope of the Library Movement) in the compilation:
“By way of precedent we may refer to the movement in Russia. In that vast country as in ours, the percentage of the literate population about twelve years ago was quite as small. But through the influence of the Library Movement, carried on along suitable lines, the bulk of the peasant population has, in one decade, been taught to read and write and rendered fit to benefit by the rural library service.
The Library Movement in Madras will therefore, comprise three heads of work. The first, and I would give importance to it, is the work with the masses, the illiterate, uneducated adult population, which should at least he informed, if not educated. The second line of work will be with those that know to read and write but have had no education in the real sense. They have just learnt enough to begin their education and they must be made to think and educate themselves, or at least be prevented from lapsing into illiteracy. The Third branch of the programme will relate to the educated classes. These again do require an impetus of the kind that the Library Movement can give, to make them take to books. The first two lines of work are concerned primarily with the South Indian languages, while the third will necessarily cover the entire literature of the world”.
Mr. Ayyar for his valuable services, particularly for his work as President of the Madras Library Association, was loved and respected by the people. The Government conferred on him the title of ‘Rao Bahadur’. In 1953 the Madras Library Association observed its Silver Jublee celebrations. The Then Chief Minister of the State, C. Rajagopalachari presided over the public meeting held on April 4, 1953 and presented to Shri K.V. Krishnaswami Ayyar on behalf of the Association and the people souvenirs and Addresses for his outstanding service to the cause of the Library Movement in the State.
On Mr. Ayyar’s demise on December 24, 1965 Dr. S.R. Ranganathan, a life-long co-worker of Shri K.V. Krishnaswami Ayyar in the Madras Library Association, in an obituary note paid rich tributes to the memory of the deceased .(vide Herald of Library Science 5 no.1( January 1966): pp. 77-79).
K.V.Krishnaswami Ayyar, a person of outstanding ability and dignity was a non-professional promoter of the Library Movement in India. His pioneering work for over three decades, marked by his uncommon devotion and sagacity, will ever provide shining examples for future workers in the field of library science. We shall cherish his memory with all respect and admiration.
2. Iyyanki Venkata Ramanaiah
Iyyanki Venkataramanayya, popularly known as Iyyanki was born on 24 July 1890 in Konduduru village of West Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. He is considered as the moving spirit behind Library Movement in Andhra. He was awarded Padmashri by the Government of India. He completed his school education in 1903. He could not continue his studies further because of his deep involvement in the National Freedom Movement.
2.1 Library Movement
2.3 Library Conferences
2.4 Library Pilgrimages
2.5 Relationship of Library Movement with Adult Education
2.6 Awards and Honours
2. “Iyyanki Venkata Ramanaiah” in Granthalaya Sarvaswamu. In PSG Kumar’s Library Movement and Library Development in Andhra Pradesh. New Delhi: B R Publishing Corporation, 2008.p. 504-506
3. Venkatappaiah, Velaga.” Vavilala Gopalakrishnaiah”. Grandhalaya Sarvaswamu, June 2003
4. Satyanarayana K..B.: “Ekbote, Gopal Rao”.in PSG Kumar’s Library Movement and Library Development in Andhra Pradesh. New Delhi: B R Publishing Corporation, 2008.p. 501-502
5. “Chakravarty, N.C.”Lest we forget-3.” Indian Library Association Bulletin 3, no.3 (1967):157-160
6. Pinakapani. “Paturi Nagabhushanam (1907-1987).” in Library Movement and Library Development in Andhra , edited by P.S.G. Kumar. Delhi: B.R.Publishing Corporation, 2008.p.519-22
7. “Avinashilingam Chettiar, T S.” in Library Movement and Library Development in Tamil Nadu,
Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar, edited by P,S. G. Kumar. Delhi, B.R.Publishing
Corporation, 2008. p.433
8. “Ranganathan, S R.” in Library Movement and Library Development in Tamil Nadu,
Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar by PSG Kumar. Delhi, B.R.Publishing Corporation, 2008. p.436
9. “Janardhanam Naidu, s.” in Library Movement and Library Development in Tamil Nadu,
Pondicherry and Andaman & Nicobar,edited by P.S.G. Kumar. Delhi: B.R.Publishing Corporation, 2008.p.434.
10. “Chakravarty, N.C.” Lest we forget Part-3: Pioneers who are no more”. Indian Library Association Bulletin 3 n.3-4(1967): 161-3