June 30, 2011

A village library in the Karakoram mountains needs your help


Muhammad Rehbar.—Photo PT
GULMIT is the headquarters of Gojal, a tehsil administrative unit in Hunza district. On January 4, 2010, a landslide blocked the Karakoram Highway near Atabad and the Hunza River submerged the lower part of the village. 

The entire Gojal – area-wise the largest tehsil in the Gilgit-Baltistan provincial region of Pakistan that borders with Afghanistan and China – has been cutoff rest of Pakistan since than, and the neighboring China is supporting the over 20,000 people of the stranded region. 

The Gulmit town has a community library (officially known as The Aga Khan Study Center Gulmit), which was set up by some educated locals in the 1970s. It has played a pivotal rule in the intellectual development of the local people. The library was the center of all kinds of artistic, intellectual and literary activities till the 1980s.

However, in recent years, locals say, it has lost its charm due to lack of management. The fall of the library started when Muhammad Rehbar – an awarded schoolteacher, hardworking librarian and famous local theater director – and his equally talented partner Master Amir Hayat left the library management after years of honorary service.

Fortunately, recently, some young locals have taken the initiative to bring back the lost glory of the library. In this regard, people have advised the youth to involve the veteran librarians, especially Mr. Rehbar, who has recently retired from his government job. Here is an appeal of the determined youth group. We hope you will help the stranded people in someway! Thanks.—The Terrorland Team (TTT)

Gulmit— the troubled village with a troubled library

By Sami Baig

While visiting the Gulmit Central Library, we were astonished that we could not find the collection of books that was once available in the 1990s.

The tables, where we used to study, were gone too along with chairs. The slogan of outstanding progress in our education, intellect and economy is open to question because of the vanishing libraries which are a source of knowledge and symbol of a well informed society.

This week our members will collect books for the Gulmit Central Library. Your donation of new or used books in English on virtually any subject will open the door of opportunity for countless eager learners of Gulmit.

Those of you who cannot donate books or help in the collection can still make a difference by making monetary donation to the following appointed members of the library in Islamabad

The Library Committee is planning to restart the Gulmit Library on this July. It’s not enough to remember the less fortunate students residing in the troubled region Gulmit in thought alone. Let’s remember them by our deeds!

Members of Gulmit Central Library in Islamabad, Pakistan.

1.      Sami Ullah Baig - 03455998634
2.      Basit Ali - 03452782752
3.      Noor Mohd - 03462500041
4.      Ali Sarwar - 03432839314
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  5. Gilgit-Baltistan – The Orphaned Land of Pakistan
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