17 April, 2021

No Dog-Ears Here

Our MPs can scarcely be accused of being bookish. Why then a plush library?

Tribhuvan Tiwari
No Dog-Ears Here
At 2.30 pm on a working day, the only sound in India's most expensive and best-equipped library—an architectural milestone by Raj Rawal—is of the vacuum cleaner being run with unsarkari thoroughness over the sandstone walls and ceiling. The steady overpowering din, like that at a construction site, does not disturb the readers for a good reason: there is not a single visitor in the 55,000 sq mts Parliament Library.

"I don't see more than 10-15 members using the library whenever I come," admits Forward Bloc Rajya Sabha member Debabrata Biswas, described by the librarian, Saroj Bala, as one of the most frequent visitors. But for a frequent visitor, Biswas says he doesn't get to the library more than once a week. "I'm the leader of my party in the Rajya Sabha and don't find enough time to come more frequently," he explains.

But for a library that is so singularly readerless, the number of missing books is appalling. During the 13th Lok Sabha, for example, a total of 190 members from both the houses were fined for losing books they (or their staff) had borrowed. The...

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