A premier library – Vidyadhar Date
A premier library is being eyed by some as a real estate bonanza.
A premier library is being eyed by some as a real estate bonanza. The Mumbai Marathi Granth Sangrahalaya near Dadar T.T. in the heart of Mumbai is unique for its collection.
Its building complex used to be a major centre for cultural activity. I began visiting since the seventies, in 1972 there was a national seminar on literature organized by the Sahitya Akademi on the silver jubilee of independence.
It was attended by several A top writers and I particularly remember Balraj Sahani, who was a literature lover and writer.
Even the building steps formed a meeting ground , these were for many years an adda for literary figures like Ashok Shahane, Manya Oak and many others.
Opposite this building stood the big Kohinoor mill, different from another Kohinoor at Shivaji Park. It has been turned into a high rise. Imagine if this big land had been used for building the Central Library.
The central law requires the four major metropolises to raise a Central library with free access to books published all over India. Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai have it. Mumbai does not. It is a massive failure of our intelligentsia , not to speak of politicians and bureaucrats.
Imagine building such a good institution in the heart of the city, Plus there could be a thriving cultural center. It would have sent such a good message, enhanced the image of the metropolis.
It was a huge plot of land and it belonged to the national textile corporation, in a sense to the people of India. But for a few crores the authorities betrayed us. We now have a faceless high rise there . Kohinoor Tower, running empty, has come up on another Kohinoor mill land opposite Shiv Sena Bhavan.
The Granth Sangrahalaya has now been dwarfed before big money and soon we may lose that too unless citizens intervene. If the management must redevelop, some small mercy could be expected, at least create a decent cultural center and retain , improve the library. But If there is redevelopment, we will lose access to the library for many years.
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