Kannur, March 22 : The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Library which was formed in 1988 immediately after the theater artist was shot dead in New Delhi is now the country’s first air-conditioned library and with more than 14,000 books and is the main cultural hub of Mayyil, a sleepy panchayath of Kannur district, the home district of Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Interestingly the library has a women’s wing who are creating waves in the surroundings by innovative methods and intervening in the lives of local people, in every aspect of their lives.
The women’s group which is part of the library is into women empowerment ,women enterprenuership, training for competitive examinations, developing financial independence in women, the increase of women participation in culture, arts and theaters as also increasing the reading habits of women.
The “Streevedi “ or Woman group of the Library has also involved in developing awareness on menustral period cleanliness among women and on the “Menustral Cup” project. The Light Emitting Diode (LED) clinics were conducted on awareness among women on power conservation. The LED clinics later transformed into LED bulb making projects.
Rishna, Mayyil Panchayath President and one of the key operators of Safdar Hashmi Memorial library, Women’s wing said, “More than a library we have transferred this into a place for cultural grouping of women as well as promoting women enterprenuers, financial independence of women and also creating awareness among women on menustral hygiene as also on the environment hazard caused by sanitary napkins.”
The woman leader also said, “We are also into making of masks, hand sanitizers, room cleaning liquid solutions and these are our main revenue earning models.”
The women grouping has also conducted several drama’s from across the district featuring all women troupe and there is the “travelling library” which supply books at door steps and is compulsory that women of the area read a book and return it within two weeks. The library is meeting the incidental expenses of the woman librarian who moves in a two wheeler and connect with 200 homes per week.
Another major feature of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial library is the initiative to conduct group reading and reading collectives. These reading collectives are conducted on the day before weddings when there are large groups of people coming in as guests , also during housewarming ceremonies where also a large number of relatives and friends attend.
Rishna says,” This is to create an awareness among general public as to how serious we are and how important reading is”.
Initially the local people were viewing this women centric programmes with skeptisicm but of late everything have changed and there is a general feel among the people that what the women grouping is doing is good for the society at large.
Sulaiman Hassan who is from Mayyil panchayath said, “The women who were watching serial sops in television are much advanced and are reading classics and are spending their spare time making paper bags, LED bulbs, cleaning materials and masks which are sold in the market fetching a good money to these women and in that angle this project is a huge success.”
The organization has got several state and national level honours and is in the process of moving ahead for the all round development of the society.