Sunday, November 6, 2011

This duo have collected books in exchange for old newspapers

Here is a duo who have collected rare books from second hand book sellers in exchange for the old newspapers. Dr MA Jayashree and MA Narasimhan are the cousins who have collected such rare books and manuscripts from their childhood.

Their collection includes several century old books, palm leaf manuscripts and some rare books like Jain Puranas written in Kannada, first Kannada novel – 'Madidunno Maharaya', 'Gandaberunda', the first set of novel series 'Kalaganatha', the first published translations of several Bengali and English works to Kannada like the Bankim Chandra Chatterji's, 'Anand Mutt', a rare handwritten Panchanga and Sanskrit dictionary, 1st volume of Rig Veda published during the regime of Jayachamaja Wodeyar, Kalachu print (letters carved using soap stone) so on.

Majority of the books are in English and Kannada, apart from other languages such as Tamil, Sanskrit, Hindi and Telugu. After they started earning they started buying new books, spending lakhs of rupees. Seeing their interest for books, some of the friends, too have offered them books and they have maintained books very neatly.

Apart from collecting the first publication books, if any book aroused an interest in them they have purchased it. At present they have about 7,000 books and all the books are kept in a separate room in their house which is named, Anantha Research Foundation.

Incidentally, MN Ramanuja Iyengar, the pioneer who first published the Jain Purana manuscripts in Kannada happens to be the grand-father of this cousin duo. With support and encouragement they received from their parents and relatives, they were able to pursue their collection of rare and interesting books. Both born and brought up in a scholarly environment has enriched their curiosity towards books. Speaking to Express they said that, 'One should cultivate the habit of reading to increases imagination and thinking capacity.'

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