Thursday, 16 May 2013

The State Of Books: #1 - The Desecration.

In the last year of my under-graduate studies, they decided to build a new library in my college and clear out the old one entirely. I mean – Entirely! And they decided to sell out everything to the students who wanted them, at very cheap rates. That’s the good part, but then they emptied all the shelves, hundreds of books onto the library floor in a heap of pages, literature and precious records of human writings!

How could anyone permit such a desecration?

How could the college management not have stopped this horror?

How could the librarian have stood by and watched this entire event take place before her very eyes?

These were the most pressing questions weighing heavy upon my heart as I stood at the entrance to the underground storage area with tears rolling down my cheeks and blood oozing from my lower lip where I’d bitten it to stop myself from screaming out aloud at this violation of the temple of Education. My heart was wrenched in two as I walked into the chamber in a daze of abject misery of the horror perpetrated within these halls. I saw torn books, books without covers, shredded volumes, torn pages, unbound covers, half-vanished collections and scribbled manuscripts lying around. It was a scene of carnage and reminded me of the battle of Zutphen. Just as Sir Philip Sidney, the torch of English literature in his age was killed that day, the works of countless other authors and poets were layed to waste in that library. I could even for a moment of despair compare it to the destruction of the library at Alexandria or the book burnings in Nazi Germany.

Some of the other literature students who’d come along with me were also shocked at the amount of destruction that could befall a library that was the pride of the college in its heyday. It was unimaginable how much destruction could take place when you come to think about it and I wonder if I had not witnessed the fall of literature, an event that took place only a few times in human history. This was indeed a day that will live in infamy and will always remain one of my most disturbing experiences in life. People who do not read or write or have much to do with literature may think that I’m over-reacting, but ask a true bookworm, they will tell you that my pain is as real as the pain at the death of a family member.

However, some of the other literature students and I managed to get few of the books to safety, but that story is for another time perhaps.