Shah Taj Khan/Pune
In this era of mobile phone distancing children from books, Maulana Mirza Abdul Qayyum Nadvi of Aurangabad, Maharashtra, has taken a unique approach to inculcate their interest in book reading.
He has launched a campaign of distributing piggybanks to school children. The children are advised to save from their pocket money to buy books of their choice and it’s showing results.
A bookshop owner of the city, Mirza Abdul Qayyum Nadvi, has been working to instill the habit of reading among the younger generation. His daughter Mariam has set up 22 mohalla libraries in lower-middle class areas of the city to introduce the youth to book reading.
Maulana Nadvi distributes piggy banks to schoolchildren as gifts. While receiving a gift, the children wear a big smile as they feel important and empowered. He is playing on their minds as he knows the habit of saving and using the money for buying a book will stay with them for the lifetime.
The children collect money in their piggy bank and ask their school authorities to invite Maulana Nadvi to bring his stock of books to the school.
On a designated day, Maulana Nadvi arrives and children happily choose books and pay for these from their savings.
Nadvi not only explains the importance of saving to the children but also makes them experience buying non-perishable with their savings. Children’s faces lit up as they buy a book and feel empowered using their money.
Maulana Abdul Qayyum Nadvi in his book shop
Maulana Nadvi has so far distributed piggybanks to more than 37,000 children. He says that each child collects about Rs. 100 to 200 per month in their piggy banks. He has so far distributed piggybanks to more than 37000 children.
Mirza Abdul Qayyum Nadvi says he speaks to children about the importance of book reading and how the message of the book will remain with them for a lifetime. He moves from school to school and is available to all the schools for help and counseling.
In 2006, Maulana Nadvi started selling books from home. Earlier he used to home deliver books on his bicycle. He would look for book readers: outside the mosque, under a tree, and sometimes outside the school.
“People want to read books but they don't have time to buy books. Besides, they don't even know the books they like,” says Maulana Nadvi. "Every time I take people to their favorite books, they buy all the books," he says. I keep in touch with people and try to understand their likes and dislikes. I felt that people wanted to read good books. So now I'm focused on instilling a love of reading in children. Children are more interested in reading books than adults.”
When Maulana Nadvi decided to promote the idea of selling children’s books, he didn’t meet with success. Many schools did not even allow him to enter the school. But he did not give up. Wherever he had the opportunity to speak, he highlighted the importance of books.
Gradually people began to understand Maulana Nadvi. Today, schools now invite him to speak with children.
Mirza Abdul Qayyum Nadvi says it’s a long journey that he has just begun.