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Historic Stuart Library of Godhra struggling to make ends meet

| Updated: August 23, 2021 15:35

It is indeed a reflection on the cultural sensibilities of our society that 155-year-old historic Stuart Library at Godhra is finding it difficult to continue functioning. The trustees of the library are mulling over the idea to rent the hall to meet the recurring expenses. As interest in reading recedes in general, the membership has come down to a pitiable 50. 

It goes to the credit of an Englishman Mr Stuart who was the Collector of Godhra in 1866, who started the library by donating 42 books. The small initiative later took shape of an important institution for which the whole region could take pride. The library at present is an invaluable treasure of around 36500 books in Gujarati, Hindi, English and Sanskrit, many of which are of historical value. 

The visits of Mahatma Gandhi and Viththalbhai Patel in 1919 and 1898 respectively, raise the status of the institute to a monument of historical importance. Prithviraj Kapur, Fatehsinhrao Gaekwad and PG Mavlankar are the other luminaries who have visited the library in the past. 

At present though, the reading hall at the library with its mostly empty chairs is a sorry reminder of its glorious past. The donors help with new books and money, but it is not enough. In this situation, the trustees believe, renting out the hall for social functions can help generate some income. 

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