Earth & Conservation

Traveling Across India With 4,000 Books in Tow

They're on a mission to promote reading in India's most remote towns where access to books is scarce.

<p>Photo: Glen Noble // Unsplash</p>

Satabdi Mishra and Akshaya Ravtaray want to get more Indians to read books. They began their trip in December 2015 in Bhubaneswar in the eastern state of Orissa, and they plan to travel a total of 10,000 km (6,213 miles) across India with 4,000 books packed in their van, reports the BBC.

So far the duo is feeling pretty accomplished. They've already met many Indians who want to buy their books and they've managed to sell 2,000 of them (they replenish the supply as they go). And for those that can't afford to buy? No problem. Mishra and Ravtaray are lending books too because the most crucial part of their mission isn't about making a profit, it's about getting people to realize how important reading really is.

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Ravtaray says "We see so much happening around us, things like intolerance, that mainly happens because people don't read. Reading books opens your mind and allows you to appreciate different thoughts."

Mishra explains that the central problem is not that people in India don't want to read, but that books have become too expensive and inaccessible. Most small towns in the country don't even have a library. Mishra and Ravtaray want to make it easier for people to read by allowing them to own their own books.

Ravtaray also points out that it's pretty common today for wealthy people to write about the poor, but poor people never actually get to read their work because they don't have access to it. He believes it is essential to reach India's "remote corners if we are to prosper as a society."

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