Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Meet Mr Murugesan - the barefoot librarian

Murugesan in his shop
Mr Murgesan of Dindukkal in Tamilnadu is a rare personality. Born in Kumaran Thandalam village near Alankanallur in Madurai, he is a 72 year old librarian cum second handbook seller with a difference. He enjoys procuring and supplying books in Tamil Language, culture and literature useful MPhil and PhD Scholars in several universities.He has studied only up to second class! He developed a taste for books when he was running a shop for waste paper. Books and pamphlets attracted him. Started attending free seminars, debates, conferences etc. He had the opportunity of many students and teachers visiting his shop because of useful collection of books.

He has named his children: IRaiMani, IRaiRani, IRaiMalar, IRaiEeasan  etc. IRai stands for God in Tamil. Some customers who were surprised by his devotion to Tamil language and culture, though utterly uneducated in a formal sense, suggested that he supplies books to university research students.He has been peddling his wares with sack load of books on his back for about twenty years.
He is fondly referred to as "Putthaga Taathaa" (old man with books) by students.

He has helped a few thousand students to complete their research courses. One Susheela Gopalan mentioned his contribution and acknowledged his help in her PhD thesis. Since then, quite a large number of Research dissertations include his name in acknowledged page. As a librarian, I can say this is a distinct honor for self less work. Murugesan does not charge anything specific for his service. He accepts whatever is given happily. He buys season ticket from Dindukkal  to Madurai regularly. Within cities and towns he goes by bus or walk. Any book required by a scholar is located (within a week utmost) in a book shop or library, bought / borrowed and delivered at the residence of customer. All out of love for helping academics.  He is proud to mention that the ice Chancellor of Tamil University Tanjavur, Ma Thirumalai and HOD of Tamil Dept, Smt Chandira are among his beneficiaries. They have referred a large number of students to him.
His heart is full of contentment and happiness. If this is not a story of productive ageing what else can be?

(Story courtesy: Ananda Vikatan dated 28 nov 2012 pages 74-77 Translated / re-told by Vyasamoorthy)


Dr P Vyasamoorthy, 30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278.

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