SANTOSH K. KIRO Want a glimpse of the diverse and varied culture of Jharkhand?
Drop in at Jharkhand Jharokha — a bookstore on Ratu Road in Ranchi — that boasts a huge collection of tribal literature along with that of sadans, the original non-tribal settlers of the region.
The store located behind Raj Bhavan was the dream of a young tribal boy from a non-descript village of Gumla, some 80km from the state capital.
Son of a poor farmer, Balu Kharwar (28) struggled hard to complete his studies and finally set up his establishment in Ranchi. Opened six years ago, Jharkhand Jharokha is now the only address in the state where one will find books in five tribal languages, four regional languages, highlighting the cultural mosaic of Jharkhand.
“After my graduation from Sanjay Gandhi Memorial College in Ranchi, I thought I must collect works on tribal and Jharkhand languages and literature and open a bookstore so that our rich heritage is preserved. I had no money, but many writers gave their books without any charge and I opened the store in 2007,” recalls Kharwar, the tribal boy from Jari village, home to Paramveer Chakra winner Lance Naik Albert Ekka.
Kharwar recounted his hard days when he used to distribute pamphlets among college students and they would simply throw them away. “For almost a year, no one came to my store. Now, I get many bibliophiles from all around the state,” he added.
Some of the rare books the store houses include those by Sarat Chandra Roy, Ram Dayal Munda, B.P. Kesri, Giridhari Ram Gounjhu, Shailendra Mahato and Mangal Singh Munda among others.
Moving on, Jharkhand Jharokha is also into publishing. “We have some 50 works to be published,” said author Shakuntala Mishra, who has been extending support to Kharwar for the last few years.
True to its name, the store indeed is a window to Jharkhand!