Kiron Prabha and Mudunuru library of biographies
Kiron prabha is a well-known communication scholar (he is a software development manager by profession) who has been inspiring many around the world in an unparalleled way, mostly Telugu knowing people. For more than fifteen years his popular talk show has become unique only one of its character to narrate in a gripping way about people who made a difference despite upheavals faced. Each of over 700 biographies he had narrated after considerable research is master episode. Each one is motivating such a way that one gets educated or rejuvenated oneself and never again lose hope in life. Kiron Prabha did singlehandedly more to spread positive outlook.
He demonstrated powerfully how Biographies could be a source of inspiration even to hear about, not only to see such personalities in action or read about long after the individuals disappeared from the scene. However, there is no effort to reap the potential of biographies for the benefit of next generation as Kiron has demonstrated. Despite a number of initiatives successive governments have taken to better motivational and educational levels, there is no evidence of much change in the school outcomes. In fact, the gloom has been on the increase among the children and educated youth.
At the most those government initiatives have expanded enrolment rate, not the quality of education nor unleashed the potential of the young. Even much after a decade of special efforts of governments, hardly two percent of the young are viewed and acknowledged as accomplished in one way or other beyond the school level.
Many of those who reached the top positions globally in the industry, technology, entrepreneurship and in wealth creation, Indians including and whose biographies are available, refer to one or other book they had read during their childhood which stimulated them and even paved their future. An insight that could be derived is that despite power of biographies there is hardly any strategic effort in schools or outside to specially use them to motivate, inspire children such a way that their outlook and perspective becomes distinct and guides their accomplishments.
One reason, for example, for Reader’s Digest’s popularity years ago was biographical sketch that every issue used to carry. Its book, Great Lives Great Deeds, putting together many of those biographies 50 years ago is not available despite being printed several times. Sunday edition of daily newspapers, like Eenadu or Sakshi, carry biographical sketch of known and unknown which are most read. No wonder why biopic films recently have been a hit. But all that has not lead to strategic initiatives. This phenomenon of reading or knowing biographies is not explored locally so that more children avail them in carving out their own futures. This is what the Library of Biographies in Mudunuru, set up last month, tries to do in an experimental mode.
In Mudunuru village, where the Library of Biographies is in operation now there is already a public library with fixed working hours in the middle of the village and a children library of BREAD also exists in the local high school. But, this first of its kind Library of Biographies now is a focussed effort to highlight biographies of wide ranging backgrounds among focussed set of children in the village and neighbourhood. This Library of Biographies is not just a collection of biography books. But where special efforts are made to motivate the children to read biographies on their own. To facilitate this process, to start with, over 700 biography books in Telugu are put together comprising biographies of some 500 persons.
This Library of Biography is a catalyst towards unleashing potential of children for a better tomorrow and a more harmonious neighbourhoods. This is based on years of research and insights gained from pioneering BREAD which is running over 1600 libraries in as many public schools in the two Telugu states for over a decade. These libraries reaching nearly 15 lac school children too include biographies. During the one-year experiment of Library of Biographies in Mudunuru systemic effort will be made (2022-23) by monitoring how the biographies are availed by children of various classes, schools, parents and what are expected as the changes in outlook and pursuits of children. How parents respond in this process will also be observed.
(Dr N Bhaskara Rao who has been a long standing public policy analyst and author of over a dozen books, has set up this Library of Biographies and has been personally operating the unique exercise).