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Bhagat Singh Library and Cultural Centre (1983-1990) was an initiative of a grassroot organisation called Kishore Bharti in Pipariya, Madhya Pradesh. The Library/Centre focused on creating social awareness through reading, writing and community based activities. While the library started as a space for all the sections, a need was soon felt to add a separate slot to encourage women readers. In the following excerpt, Rekha Vyohaar, a resident of Pipariya, shed light on how the setup was significant to the women at the local level:

“My first job was at the Bhagat Singh Library after completing school (11th standard) in early 1980’s. Initially, I was the in-charge of the women section. The library used to have reserved hours for women readers from 2:00 pm- 4:00 pm. Over time, we developed a team that not only looked after the library programme but also had close ties with women in the local neighbourhood. They shared their ordeals and problems with us and we helped them in whatever way we could. Once, in late 1980’s, a young lady was murdered by her in-laws. The library staff and the local women staged a protest rally at Galla Mandi. It was the first of its’ kind women-led agitation in the town. Influential people often labeled us trouble-makers but we thoroughly invested ourselves in what we did at the organisation. The organisation, in turn, made us socially participative and created a space where we could read and discuss.”            




Early 1980's

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Image Credits: Rekha Vyohaar

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Centre for Communtiy Knowledge, Dr. B.R. Ambedkar University Delhi


Libraries of a Town


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Linguistic translation

Galla Mandi: Grain Stock Market

Site of knowledge & meaning

Feeling & motive