Mumbai First and The Asiatic Society of Mumbai are hosting unique children’s Adopt-a-Book and Crowd Funding festival which will not only bring young readers to the steps of the historic institution but help raised funds for restoration of priceless volumes stored in the library.

Some of these were damaged in the recent rains.

The seven day festival will be held from October 2 to October 8, coinciding with Daan Utsav, the festival of Giving.

The Asiatic Society of Mumbai established in 1804, situated at Horniman’s Circle marked with a grand entrance and imposing Town Hall also contains a library with its treasure of thousands of books, ancient manuscripts, coins and maps and Artifacts.

At present Asiatic Library which includes the original manuscript of Dante’s 14th century poem, Divine Comedy, a 16th century Sanskrit manuscript of the Mahabharata, and coins issued by Shivaji and many more rare items has hit an impediment and is  short of funds. At the same time, with reduced footfalls in physical libraries, Mumbai First and the Asiatic Library felt this was a unique opportunity to mix the two.

Of the 100 books identified to be restored through crowd funding and the children initiatives include a 22- volume compilation of Maratha history by V.K.Rajwade and The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa Translated into English Prose between 1883 and 1896 by Pratap Chandra Roy

India Past and Present by Lilly William Samuel Published 1902 just to name a few.

While the library has been digitising these books and microfilming them, to restore history for the future generations, many books still remain to be digitised.

The majority of the Library’s collections comprise of books and manuscripts dating from between the 15th – 18th centuries – the oldest book they have dates from the 1400s.

Money will be raised through sponsorships, contribution in the donation boxes as well as through crowd funding. Mumbai First has partnered with crowd funding platform Impact Guru to amplify this effort and help create transparent transactions.

Children and donors who contribute and help restore these priceless books would be featured on the Mumbai First website as well as the notice boards of the Asiatic Library.

Some Facts about the Historic Asiatic Library and Asiatic Society of Mumbai:

  • Asiatic Society Town Hall – This is where Queen Victoria’s proclamation in 1858 took place, which followed on the heels of the Indian Mutiny. Under the Proclamation, the East India Company was abolished, the task of administering the country was formally transferred to the Crown and India became a colony of the British Raj.
  • It was at the Town Hall, now Asiatic Library, where part of Mahatama Gandhi ashes were kept so people could pay their last respects. 

To make the initiative exciting and participative, the seven day festival will include Walks through the Heritage Library, book reading sessions, sessions on Mumbai’s flora and fauna specifically designed for children and the release of a book People called Mumbai-Kids edition.