Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis inaugurated India’s first ‘village of books’ in village of Bhilar in Satara district.
This project was undertaken by the Marathi Bhasha department wherein 25 artistically decorated locations around the village will turn into reader hot spots with display of books ranging from literature, poetry, religion, women and children, history, environment, folk literature, biographies and autobiographies to festival specials.
Geographically modelled on the similarly idyllic market town of Hay-on-Wye — the Welsh mecca for bibliophiles — Bhilar, with its robust collection of literature in Marathi, aims to be the one-stop destination for lovers of vernacular literature.
Around 15,000 rare books and old magazines in Marathi, including copies of old Diwali issues, have been stocked and kept on display.
A nominal deposit fee would be charged from readers to ensure proper maintenance of books. They said as the area is prone to heavy rainfall, special provisions would be made to preserve books from damp weather.
Bhilar is likely to have the highest per capita availability of books for any village in the country, as 10,000 books will be made available for reading for a population of 10,000 people. This means that the ratio of book to person will be 1:1.
This village earns Rs 40-50 crore annually from its produce of strawberries.