Rahul Sankrityayanalaya Library at Clark House Initiative

The Library at Clark House is a diverse selection of books that number around 4000, a large majority that have been indexed digitally. The books have been collected through booksellers from the land of Mithila, Northern Bihar who deal in second hand books on the streets of Fort and Churchgate, Bombay. Numerous collections of old Parsi scholars, de-accessioned consulate libraries , galleries and books that were never read but bought to be prided over have found themselves places in the library. Clark House has an old connection to libraries. Chaturbhuj Sharma who began the businesses in the places left behind a collection of more than 6000 books that dealt primarily with art history, religion and cuisine, some of which have been accessioned to the Sankrityayanalaya and we hope to inherit more. The youngest initiative among the shelves is the Dalit Panther Vachanalay is an ongoing multi-media archival endeavour that aims to document the work and lives of the Dalit Panthers of Maharashtra, a militant Ambedkarite group led by artists and writers, that operated primarily in the early 1970s. The Project hopes to remind people of the rich history of resistance in India, especially considering the fractious political times in which we live today. Nayantara Bhatkal is a 28 year old singer-songwriter and composer from Mumbai who would like to tell stories in as many ways possible. Shrujana Niranjani Shridhar, is an independent illustrator/visual storyteller practising in Mumbai. She works primarily with digital illustrations, collages and water-colours. Her work draws on socio-political themes, especially at the intersection of gender, caste and class. She seeks inspiration from India's rich and diverse progressive movements. One of her abiding interests is bringing these issues to children, through picture books.

The library has an extensive collection of books in French, specifically the Presence African Journals, Literature on the Black Arts Movements, journals on contemporary art, publications and others that have been donated to us by artists, foundations and museums from across the world and have been towed along in bags on aeroplane journeys where we have had to throw our clothes to match the quotas for weight as per airline guidelines. The library is open access, but books cannot and will not leave the space. We are open to donations and having read our description it is understood what we will surely not want. We are extending our collection with books in Hindi, Italian, Marathi and Malayalam as core sectors of expansion.

Rahul Sankrityayan was a wanderer, he wrote the Ghumakad Shastra (Treatise of Wanderers) and saved manuscripts from Tibet from the onslaught of the Cultural Revolution bringing them back to Patna on the back of a mule. We intend acts of similar consequence with lesser courage and bravery. But he used the book to context small minds and a history so interwoven with colonial intrigue. We are here to achieve the dreams of Chiekh Anta Diop, spread his word far wide, that our memory and culture lies with Africa, our solidarity with blackness and our future with accessibility and equality. Dr. BR Ambedkar who we imagine in times of joy and happiness showed us our path through books.

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Clark House Initiative Bombay is a curatorial collaborative concerned with ideas of freedom.

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