Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Library Thrives in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets

I came across an article I discovered on the New York Times website titled, A Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets by Haroon Janjua. In the article, Haroon Janjua wrote the following:
DARRA ADAM KHEL, Pakistan — This tribal district, located about 85 miles west of Islamabad, is best known for its sprawling weapons bazaar. Walking through it, the sounds of workshop machinery and craftsmen striking hammers become a nearly musical backdrop.
A local book lover, Raj Muhammad, hopes it becomes known as the home of the Darra Adam Khel Library. Located near a gun shop that his father built 12 years ago, the library opened in August, and Muhammad considers it a labor of love as well as a message to the area and the wider world.
“I put books on the top of the gun market, making them superior to guns,” he said. “It’s a step for peace.”
Muhammad, 32, earned a master’s in Urdu literature from the University of Peshawar and worked for a Dubai tourism firm before returning to Pakistan to teach. Uninterested in his father’s firearms business, he opened the library to give people in the area better access to books and education.
I also found it interesting to learn through reading the above mentioned article that the literacy rate is 58% among adults in Pakistan. Additionally, libraries are not widespread in Pakistan like they are here in the United States. 

I also read and was touched by the following passage written in the above mentioned article:
Muhammad considers the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai “our pride,” for her efforts to champion education for girls and becoming the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.
“I was born here,” Muhammad said. “I want the world to remember Darra Adam Khel with a good reputation, not for guns but for the books.”
Click on the top link to read the full article.