Kupwara: Mubashir Mushtaq from Halmathpora, a remote village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district has independently established a free library in his vicinity, thereby setting an example for others to do something better for the society by way of taking human friendly measures.
The idea of setting up the library came to his mind after witnessing several children from adjoining villages involved in child labour.
On enquiring, he came across that due to lack of books they had abandoned education. He raised a campaign against child labour in the following years and decided to offer free books to those who could not buy on their own.
He started the campaign against child labour in 2020 and came across about the plight of students with regard to lack of books. During Covid-19 restrictions the idea of setting up a library strengthened when Mubashir failed to get books to read from anywhere.
“For next one and a half year I collected books from my friends and professors in SP College Srinagar and even friends from Kupwara and my native village donated different books which paved way for me to finally establish ‘Let’s Talk Library’ in July 2022,” Mubashir Mushtaq who is pursuing Bio-Chemistry (Honours) at Shri Pratap College Srinagar told Greater Kashmir.
“Initially my parents did not support me but after they witnessed children coming from far off places to study here, they started believing in me and supported me financially at every step. Even my father supports me to pay rent of the library which happens to be Rs 15000 per year,” Mubashir added.
At present 52 students are registered with the library who have the privilege of reading more than 3000 different books present in the library. The books present in the library include competitive books, English literature, Urdu literature, Islamic literature, academic books besides magazines and newspapers.
“Literally I had to beg for books initially but now I often get calls from people across Kashmir who want to donate books for ‘Let’s Talk Library’. My friends would laugh at me when I started the initiative but now they feel proud with the success of the library,” said Mubashir.
‘Let’s Talk Library’ is not confined to the books only but under ‘Our Kids Our Future’ initiative being run by Mubashir over hundred kids come to the library every Sunday where personality development, English speaking and public speech skills are being inculcated to them.
Mubashir who wants to extend ‘Let’s Talk Library’ to other villages said that a good society can never be built unless it possesses reading habits. “I want youth, instead of falling prey to drugs, to develop reading habits so that they can come across the value of life. Moreover I want to keep study material available at doorsteps for those who cannot afford private coaching,” he said.