Travel Diary

To: "Min Nuul" From: "Kannan" Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 11:50:11 +0100 Subject: [e-suvadi] Travel Diary 29.01.02 Reply-to: [email protected]
Dear Suvadians: Muhapper is where Roja Muthiah Library is located. An hour's drive from Gindy, for a travel of approximately 12 km. This is because, Chennai has exploded with vehicle traffic not in proportion with road building. Infra structure is '0' but people buy every model car available on the market (a good choice of them is available now). Wise men go for a mountain bike or a Jeep. Bus travel may break your neck and you may get a back ache after an 'auto' drive! Mr.Theoder Baskaran, the ex-director of Roja Muthiah Library has arranged a Jeep for us. Mr.Baskar the Director-in-charge picked us (Narasiah+Kannan) from Guidy. The library venue is not that impressive. It is a research library and is not open for public yet. But people do visit. Therefore it is a reference library. It is obvious for an observer that the library is under construction. A huge collection of books are still unopened from cartons that divide the library shelves from the reading room. A huge pile of books lies down in a corner to be dispersed to other libraries. This library receives books from donors as well. Apart from the original collection of Roja Muthiah, several donors added up the worth of this place including A.K.Ramanujan. Visitors can not avoid the all pervasive penchant smell of the library. The DDT powder Mr.Muthiah used once to preserve his collection pose a health hazard to the employees and visitors. One gets used to it - in a typical Indian way after a while! One recalls that if not for a generous grant from the University of Michigan this library won't exist in its present form. It does not have the elegance of U.Ve.Sa library. But unlike the later, this library has a young, educated team of employees who know library science. This library is very modern. Their challenges are unique as well. Unlike a regular library, Roja Muthiah has collected for his library not only books but wedding invitations. rare paintings, bit notices, etc. Therefore, preservation, arrangement, cataloguing should be done in a creative way. This library's strong point is its 'micro- film' unit and digital imaging of microfilms. They are experienced in getting foreign grants from Welcome Institute (UK), Ford Foundation (USA) etc. Mr.Baskar gave us a tour and listened to me as well regarding THF initiative. He was impressed by our digital images of suvadies, our collection of tamil writers photos and other such unique items. We discussed topics of collaboration. One of my idea was to digitize Silpi's unique sketches of temples and karpagrahams from Vikatan malars ranging from 1950-60 and present it as a joint venture in TI 2002 conference. We are working out the intricacies of copy right. I consult Mr.Ghandi Kannadasan, our PM consultant on this matter. For an amount of US$ 4,000 they are ready to microfilm and digitize the entire collection of Mahabaratha and other unique collection of Satchithanandan (20,000 pages). They are ready to join us in collaboration on any innovative project. I spelled out our idea of MOU (memorandum of understanding) and they were receptive. Roja Muthiah Library needs a new venue with more ventilation. This will avoid the present occupational hazard posed by Mr.Muthiah's old collection. anpuTan Kannan