Buy more foreign magazines for libraries!

Free speech, free press? Good questions, good rhetoric. Somehow, there are obstacles in India too much! Citizens empowerment is a concept that had not received the attention of our politicians. Our people must be enabled to read more good books,read more latest serious foreign journals.That is the only way to make people realise how people in civilized countries want to know and want to live! Latest infoirmatioin flow is the only guarantee for true freedoms. For our people.We have to become part of the international current of intellectual awareness and know how other peoples in the world know the latest knowledge. Every one in India thinks, rather innocently or uncritically, we are a free country.We are a free democracy?

Yes, this is the uncritical popular view. But there are serious questions.What are they?First,as per the current Supreme Court rulings, we cant,that is even the press cant comment on courts,or on judges.That would be contemptof court. The Hindu in a major editorial says,our current status as free citizens to crititicise the counrt judgements is ‘a vague and wandering jurisdiction with uncertain frontiers. Leave alone the big press,the organised powerful press establishments.The status of small newspapers and magazines? They are the real voices of grass roots people, the weaker sections, the small newspapers and magazines are also the most weaker limbs of the poor! Do you know the difficulties for the small magazines and newspapers? From registering them and getting the necessary papers to printing them and distributing them the postal dept’s own hassles,the small press is literally suppressed,physically and legally under our great Constitutition guaranteed fundamental right is suppressed.

So,we have here a clutch of problems that concern directly the very rights of citizens and their many other basic rights, their human rights to exist as free beings.Also related are the state of our libraries and our spread of public knowledge through our public liberary systems.As a magazine largely subscribed by the public libraries we are aware yo some of the most practical obstacles. Recently,there was this news in Karnataka where a group of leading writers demanded publicaly the State allot a specifi Rs.10 crore for the purchaxse of Kannada books to the libraries. In TN which prides to have the best administered public liberary system there are allegations of collusion of unscrupulous publishers with the library dept offiicals.

In Karnataka there are so many allegations.This is a State where there is a separate minister for public libraries and yet the allegations of large scale corruption is openly voiced. In other States the liberary systems are really deplorable. Unfortunately, the HRD and I&B Ministry must address the problems.

In the outside world they are debating about the future of books, the future in the world of online technologies.

In the world every 30 seconds a new book is published! Unfortunately book publishing is now driven by blockbusters and falsepublciity about best seellers! So, the genuine, learned books, published at great costs never gets publicity. Or, gets bought by the public library system. Unless books are bought by the public libraries there is no chance the general public, unaccustomed to buy the expensive books will ever read the good books. That is why we need the State governments must announce the library grants openly and sensitise the book reading public.No less impoprtant is allocation of funds for the subscrioption to expensive magazines.

Good magazines dont come cheap.Even the Chennai Central Library on the busy Anna Salai reading room is crammed with tabloids! Not a single quality magazinbe or quality magazines we could spot there!

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