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The book-lovers of Mylapore

By January 15, 2018No Comments

Source : The Hindu


Join historian Sriram V on a heritage walk that traces the authors, bibliophiles, and libraries of the locality

There was once a library in Mylapore that imposed rules on how a reader must position a book while reading. The area was home to some crazy book lovers and intellectuals that added to its character. Historian Sriram V presents a heritage walk that focusses on this aspect of Mylapore. To be held onJanuary 15, the walk will take participants through the books, authors, bibliophiles and libraries of the locality.

“The walk will begin at South Mada Street and end at Woodlands Hotel on Radhakrishnan Salai,” says Sriram. Mylapore nurtured several libraries: the locality had two Tamil libraries, a Telugu library and a Sanskrit library that is present within the Sanskrit college. Then there were the private libraries that people had at home.

“These were open to only close friends,” explains Sriram. Strict instructions were given to readers to place the books on their laps such that the spines were not damaged in any way. The owners were so protective of their books — they maintained registers that visitors had to sign every time they took a book to read.

Sriram explains that KV Krishnaswami Iyer, considered the father of the library movement in Tamil Nadu, lived opposite the spot where the Nageshwara Rao Park stands today. Subramania Bharati happened to recite his poems at his residence and Iyer was so impressed that he printed three of Bharati’s poems and distributed them for free. This despite the fact that the two were poles apart as far as their ideologies about the Freedom Movement were concerned!

“Mylapore was also home to writers such as Guha Priya,” says Sriram. He adds that he has listed about 30 personalities associated with literature from the area.

Sriram hopes to make the walk an annual feature coinciding with the The Hindu Lit For Life. The heritage walk is on from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on January 15. It ends with breakfast at Woodlands. The registration charge is ₹700 per person. To register, visit


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