July 21, 2015
Many who have heard about the G.D. Naidu Library or even visited it will be aware that it has a rare collection of newspapers dating back to the 1920’s. This is in addition to the periodicals and magazines.
Rare collections of oldest newspapers like Swadesamithran, Nava India, The Mail, Alai Osai, besides Coimbatore’s first neighbourhood newspaper ‘City News’ published by Kuppuraj, find a place in the archives of the Library. It is said that Naidu, who dropped out of the school at elementary level, was a keen reader and collector of newspapers and magazines. Issues of newspapers, periodicals and magazines, even those that had closed down can be seen at the library.
Naidu’s family members – G.D. Gopal (son), G.D. Rajkumar (grandson), Santhini (grand daughter) and G.D. Gopal’s wife Chandra Gopal – are keeping alive the doyen’s interest even now.
According to A. Balakrishnan, Manager, G.D. Naidu Charities, there are rich collections of books ranging anywhere between 25,000 to 35,000 under various topics, right from biographies, autobiographies, spiritualism, to automobile and mechanical engineering, to scientific manuals. The library is well equipped and is being updated with the latest with newspapers and magazines.
A copy of Times of India published when India attained its Independence finds a place of pride here. The issue dated August 15, 1947, is preserved here. And the first Tamil newspaper’ Swadesamithran’, published from India, is also in the archives of oldest newspapers. Mr. Balakrishnan said that though it was laborious to preserve newspapers according to the date, month and year, it was being done till date in honour of the vision of G.D. Naidu.
INTACH former governing council member Rajesh Govindarajulu said that it had conducted a study about G.D. Naidu Library in 2008 and brought out a publication based on the findings. “We were surprised to find rare collection of photographs of Naidu with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru, A.B. Vajpayee, Indira Gandhi, K. Kamaraj and many other dignitaries,” he noted.
The library also has a good collection of diaries, calendars, and invitations, besides a host of informative material. Noted writer Sivasankari had penned a book on G.D. Naidu titled ‘Appa’ (a biography on G D Naidu) while Edaiyur Sivamathy had written a book titled ‘Vetri Manithar’.
However, visitors are not allowed free access to the library as there is danger of them damaging the well preserved collections. Those with an academic or professional need to use the library for reference are allowed with special permission.