Ganjam: Even though most of us have a penchant for going through newspapers and magazines as our morning cup of tea or breakfast, we either discard them after the day’s use or dispose off by selling to the scrap dealers. However in the world of internet these days, our preference has now got defected to e-papers, stored in our pocket in shape of smartphones.
On the contrary, D. Prakash Rao of Chilkalkhandi village under Chatrapur block here is a living repository of 40-year-old newspapers. Fondly called Rao Sir, the retired school teacher’s virtual kinsmen are these outdated newspapers and magazines.
During a tete e tete, Rao Sir murmured, “Since long I’m keen on all sorts of newspapers, journals, magazines and story books. Due to natural calamaties, most of my treasure has got damaged. If I’m extended any sort of help to compensate my irreparable loss, I would remain ever grateful.”
Recounting his childhood days, he said that he got inspired by his parents as they used to store them with utmost care. Thus, his small house has turned into a library housing Odia, Hindi and English newspapers despite being pretty old. The Odia newspapers and periodicals of the 1980s viz. Dainika Asha, The Prajatantra, The Pragativadi, The Matrubhumi, The Samaj, The Sambad, et al, in English-The Telegraph, The Hindu, The Times of India, etc. and several others in Hindi.
After beginning his tenure as a school teacher at Kamaladiha LP School, Rao Sir retired in 2007 and focused on his library. Ruing that Phailin played a spoilsport on some of his treasure trove, he has appealed for government aid in a bid to develop his small library properly for the benefit of posterity.
He is not only interested in storing with care these old newspapers, he loves gardening, poetry writing and social service despite being a pensioner drawing a paltry sum per month. He is well-known as a good Samaritan in the area. Amid the pandemic, he spends time to sensitize his fellow villagers on the virulent virus.