Prufrock's Page

Friday, August 05, 2005

Lucknow's Ram Bhai

Lucknow's legendary bookseller Ram Advani speaks to Express Newsline about some of the people he's helped:

"Vikram Seth, Naipaul came twice, Ruskin Bond I have known since he was a boy of ten, he has been a regular visitor...William Dalrymple was here some years back doing research on The White Moghuls. Of course Irfan Habib, Romilla Thapar, Ralph Russell, Carla Petrovich are some other prominent names who have been drawn to the city. Authors and academics like Dr Francis Robinson, (Author of Separatism Among the Muslims), Barbara Metcalfe, an authority on Deoband, Gail Minault, the present head of the University of Texas, Prof Peter Reeves, Vice Chancellor of Singapore University, Rosie Llewlyn Jones, Violette Graf and Peter Taylor, Author of the Oxford companion to the Mutiny of 1857..."

He also slams Indian scholars:

"...most of the interest comes from scholars based outside India— in Europe, US, Canada, Australia and Japan. Our own research scholars often lack the diligence and patience to pursue such extensive research. I have seen writers come down and take up abode in the crumbling houses in the Old City to pursue their research —that kind of dedication is not often seen among indigenous students."

And has a few words of advice for those who own bookshops:

“I do not see my job as just that of a bookseller. If someone asks for a book I have to help them find it. It is like a relationship between a doctor and a patient. I cannot leave his needs unattended. I must pursue it to the best of my ability. And it has been a rewarding pastime. I have gained knowledge and friends from this association and developed a link that has extended over generations and across the seven seas. What more reward can one seek from a vocation?"


Post a Comment

<< Home