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The Bookseller Who Cannot Read

This is a wonderful story from the People's Archive of Rural India about a bookseller who cannot read. Selling books is not just a trade for him, it's a mission to empower his people, largely illiterate tribals whose "innocence" has been exploited for decades. He learns about interesting books from those who can read, and selects only those that move him. Prospective buyers at his stall are treated to capsule oral book reviews.

A new year is around the corner with the promise of new beginnings. I hope Rampyari Kawachi will learn to read and write, which will deepen his engagement with books. An inability to read and write need not be a permanent condition. Adult literacy programs have been outstandingly successful here in Kerala. Who better than the good people at People's Archive of Rural India to take such programs to Dhamtari, perhaps even to Rampyari Kawachi's doorstep? Teach this crusader to fly, and he will ensure that others fly with him.


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