Monday, 30th October 2017

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Library inherits a huge treasure - Teacher's family passes on legacy of tomes

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  • Published 24.10.07

Oct. 24: A benevolent gesture by a book-loving college teacher’s family has spawned a treasure trove.

Two-and-a-half years after his death, the family of Sanskrit teacher Uttam Chandra Bhattacharya has donated nearly 400 books and some steel shelves to the Dhubri Sakha Sahitya Sabha’s library.

The donation was formally made at a function in the auditorium of the literary organisation on Tuesday.

Bhattacharya’s widow Renuka Devi said she donated all the books collected by her bibliophile husband throughout his life to the library.

“These books are a lifetime’s collection. My husband would buy books whenever he saved a little money from his meagre salary. College teachers were paid a pittance, but he somehow managed to purchase a lot of books,” Renuka Devi said.

Bhattacharya saved money only for books and would order these from New Delhi, Calcutta and Varanasi.

“My three daughters wanted their father’s collection to be donated to an organisation that meets the needs of indigent students. So we chose to entrust his collection with the Dhubri Sakha Sahitya Sabha,” Renuka Devi said.

Rajendra Nath Sarma, a senior lecturer of Sanskrit at Gauhati University, described Bhattacharya as an inspirational teacher and an obsessive book collector. He used to teach Sanskrit at Bholanath College in Dhubri and passed away on May 15, 2005.

“Bhattacharya had a deep, almost flawless, knowledge of his subject,” Sarma said.

Bhattacharya’s youngest daughter Sagarika Maudgalya said her father’s collection included rare volumes on the Upanishads and Vedas, as well as four volumes of Rabindranath Tagore’s Geetanjali in Sanskrit. A collection of Shakespeare’s plays was donated, too.

The secretary of the Dhubri Sakha Sahitya Sabha, Udayan Chakraborty, said it was the first time that a family had donated such a huge collection of books to the organisation’s library.

“There were already 207 books in Assamese, while the rest were in English, Bengali and Hindi. With this donation of nearly 400 rare books, this small library now boasts a rich collection,” Chakraborty said.