Photo Credit: Manjeshpv via Wiki Commons
Author: Rekha Vijayalakshmi
The surprisingly beautiful steel town of Bhadravati, in Shimoga District of Karnataka was where I landed my first job in 1990. The grime and pollution of the integrated steel plant were inescapable, but there were enough trees for a forest, beautifully maintained gardens, as well as wide, uncrowded roads, and a planned city feel to the residential areas. The steel plant was set up with German collaboration in the 1920s and so was much of the city, including the library that is our subject here.
The library was a good three km away from where we lived, (the Executive Hostel meant for single officers), frequented by few, and manned by just the librarian. My friend and I enjoyed talking to him before settling down to our favorite read in that library – western classical music. The Germans had left a wealth of books on the subject, and we were novices trying to make sense of the newly arrived classical music cassettes from HMV. Mozart and Beethoven, Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky – we attempted to to learn how to listen to all these while listening to them on our rudimentary cassette players.
The last I heard, the library was closed. It bothers me that I don’t have a single photograph of the library, nor do I know what happened to those books. I have written to a person in charge of several district libraries in Karnataka, hoping to get hold of something.
Watch this space for updates!
June 1 2014: My friend Surajit Mishra reports from Bhadravati: “The signboard reads “City Central Library – New Town, Bhadravati Branch”. The library building had become dilapidated and was closed to public after 2008. The building, which is the property of the steel plant, was renovated by the company and handed over to the municipal corporation again in 2012. You may notice the painted walls looking relatively fresh. “