Vidya Bhawan Society

A mobile library that inculcates the habit of reading in young children

If you’re a bookworm as I am, then you would just love Vidya Bhawan Society’s (VBS) mobile library. Such a simple but wonderful concept to inculcate the habit of reading amongst children! Post my visit, I couldn’t help but think how this is one concept that so needs to be replicated!

It was a Wednesday evening in Udaipur. Around 5pm, as the harsh October sun was setting, I hopped onto VBS’s brightly coloured mobile library van. Being Wednesday, the van was headed to the slum – Pulla. Seated at the back of the van, amongst 2 bookcases and several baskets full of books, I got many a look from both motorists and passersby; but just smiled at them as they passed by wondering what the van was about.

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How it all began

Vidya Bhawan Society was founded by Dr. Mohan Singh Mehta along with his close associates Dr. K.L. Shrimali and Shri K.L. Bordia in 1931. Ahead of its time, it was modeled on the principles of the Boy Scout Movement in England, incorporating the Gandian ideals of Basic Education. The influence from the Boy Scout Movement came when Dr. Mehta was in England – he was sent there to attend boarding school, when in class 4.

Originally started as a modest effort, Vidya Bhawan has flourished into a bouquet of over a dozen institutions committed to quality and excellence in the field of education. Excerpts from an interview that I found at the Vidya Bhawan Society library explain the (then) unique principles its school was founded on. As opposed to feudalistic society (of those times), the objective was to provide uncommon education to common children. The aim was to build a responsible citizenry capable of serving and transforming society.

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