Punjab's rural libraries spread awareness in farmers' lives

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Bathinda, July 25 (ANI): Many libraries in the rural Punjab are spreading awareness about different aspects of life and society and thus transforming lives of farmer families.

At Jidda village in State's Bathinda district, people of different age groups gather to read daily newspapers at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library in the village.

While farmers get updates and latest farming related news, the youth hunt for news and job options in national and local newspapers here.

"The farmers have benefited. They have gained knowledge about pesticides and newer techniques in farming at the library. Everyday, we read newspapers and the magazines like 'Changi Kheti' (good farming) and others. We find some time to spend in the library to gain knowledge," said Sadhu Singh, a farmer and library member.

Set up in 1978, the library has a collection of over 1,500 books on almost all subjects, including religion, literature and history. It helps to promote reading habit among the rural people, and also raises awareness about civil rights and many other issues.

"Our aim in opening up libraries is to make the rural people aware of their rights by providing them modern literature. We want them to come to library and read books and use the information about civil rights and even fight for it. We are witnessing the impact of this move as many farmers unions have been established, that are now fighting for their rights," said Jagmail Singh, a member of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library Committee.

Each member is expected to pay Rs.50 (about a dollar) as security deposit for books for two years. It enables the member to get books issued for two weeks from the library.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh Library Committee has the responsibility to look after the maintenance of library.

Besides, the Sabhyachar and Samaj Sewa Manch, a non-governmental organisation, which is running three libraries at Mansa and Khokhar Khurd village, and spreading awareness.

As more people in the rural areas are keen to become members, there is a feeling among the library members that more such libraries should be set up.

"Every village should have libraries. It will help youth and people of other age groups to spend their time in reading the books, and not to indulge in other anti-social activities. If there is a library in the village, the villagers will come and spend time in reading books and newspapers and will be better informed," said Romi, one of the library members.

Farming is becoming more complex and requires greater understanding and knowledge on the part of the farmers.

And a library can be a great medium to provide them more information abnout new crops, technology, fertilizers and even about climate. By Avtar Gill (ANI)

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