OPENED DURING THE NATION’S STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM, BHARAT BOOK STORE IS PACKED WITH ALL KINDS OF READING MATERIAL
Opened in 1936, Bharat Book Store is the city’s oldest shop in the city. Having started from a business of old (used) books, the shop is now loaded with books related to all spheres and streams. Be it a book related to academic syllabus, novel, magazine, mythological topics, general awareness, competitive preparation or the health issues, one will rarely go empty handed after putting demand on this counter. Started by Bal Sarup Bhatnagar, the shop is now being run by the fourth generation, so the staff and owners have witnessed the gradual change in the reading habits of the people of the region. Those few elderly residents of the town who can recall Bal Sarup Bhatnagar know that how did he establish his business and later his son Lachhman Sarup Bhatnagar carried it forward. As it was opened during the country’s struggle for freedom, the shopkeeper and the customers at that time used to exchange pleasantries, wishing each other “Jai Bharat” and this Bharat Book Store, not only for its name but for the availability of material became popular within no time.
Speaking to Daily Post, Arvind Bhatnagar, great grandson of the founder, tells that with the passage of time, the readers shifting from patriotic, mythological and religious books have now switched to Inspirational and positive novels. He finds the shop still gets good demand for Punjabi authors and poets including Narinder Singh Kapoor, Shiv Kumar Batalavi and Nanak Singh. Once called as backward, Malwa region has probably shed the tag as the shop gets high demand for books related to competitive examinations these days. Be one it of banking sector, Railways, teaching jobs or the civil services, the shop gets good enough orders for the books related to the preparation. Going by the books stacked in shelves, one can easily make out that the children have also changed their taste of reading material as the most popular character comics of 1990s including Chacha Chaudhary, Billu, Pinku and Nagraj have been replaced with Avengers and Harry Potter. You spend 30 minutes at the shop and realise the fact that after Doaba and Majha, the craze for settling abroad, particularly Canada and Australia, has gripped Malwa also. Books related IELTS are in much demand these days and it is for what the city is dotted with such language tests’ coaching centres.
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