A COLLECTOR has amassed one of the world’s biggest libraries and the largest in his country — made up of over 70,000 books.
Anke Gowda, 72, has collected books for over 50 years in 22 Indian languages and vocabularies from around the world, including religious texts, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, fiction, non-fiction — and Shakespeare.
His first book cost him pennies but he now has the biggest book collection in India and displays his eclectic mix at his Pustaka Mane (meaning house of books) in Mandya, Karnataka.
It is made up 65,000 international books and magazines, 2,500 titles on Mahatma Gandhi and 2,500 books on Bhagawad Gita.
He also has several hundreds copies of the Bible and holy books of other religions, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and fiction, and non-fiction in various national and international languages.
People come from far and wide to look through them.
‘Every week, at least a handful of PhD students and research scholars visit for referral material or to enhance their knowledge,’ the collector said.
Mr Gowda buys at least 1,000 books every month from different sources — book shops, publishers and second-hand book sellers,
He has won numerous awards such as the Rajyotsava Award in 2014, and the GP Rajaratnam Sahitya Paricharika Award given by the Kannada Book Authority in 2009.
One of his most prized books is an eight-volume 1832 William Shakespeare collection. A buyer once offered £110,000 for the set — but Mr Gowda refused to sell.
His astonishing achievement has earned him a place in yet another tome — the Limca Book of Records — which he entered in 2016 under the ‘largest personal book collection’ category.