Internal and external immigrants are known to have reading groups which help them foster a sense of identity and security.
A book in Devanagri script
Last meeting, Dr.Bachchoo Singh brought a Gita in Devanagri script, printed at Gita Press, Gorakhpur.
“It was given to me by Dr.Gaur, the anatomy teacher at the University who had stayed in Libya since 1974, being one of the first founders of the department.”
Dr.BS himself has been in Tripoli since 1988 and our weekly reading sessions were enhanced by this addition to our library.
“Our embassy is not able to lobby well for such things. They could not procure land or building to have a community school,” Dr.BS, a veteran of many struggles told.
A medical doctor, who has seen lot of things, I once took an extended life-story interview of his .
“I taught science in the community school for two years at the high school level,” he told me. According to me, this is one of his most impressive acts.
It is easy to criticize but very difficult to do.
Narratives of community
Recalling the civil society which develops around expatriate communities I remembered the school fairs which taught me so many things. To read a full narrative you can follow the links below
Half Alive Again-An Evening at Zawia Dahmaani
“However, one does develop some type of life here. Watching the school fairs, seeing the stalls of different nationalities, the books which one would otherwise never have come to know of, gathering perspectives of writers who have spelt out the secret lives of the families of their societies, the shame and longings which are common to humans.”
Community centers in Tripoli region.
If the various Christian communities of different churches-Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans can petition and acquire premises for churches why can the Indian community not acquire a premise?
“Will it be secular, or will there be religious connotations?” was the immediate next question.
“We will have a library with a wide range of books, ranging from history of the mutinies to conditions of Working class to the classic religious texts.”
Reading groups have their links and chains which stretch far and wide. I remember a copy of Bible given to me by a Nigerian footballer Carlos whom I met in the Dahra church and became good friends with. The Bible was printed in a press in Bandra, Mumbai.
The book in Devnagri script presented by Dr.Gaur to Dr.Bachchoo Singh opened many past links and memories. How the community was organized in this area for the past four decades came alive in many ways in a lively discussion over a book in Devanagri script.