Kamala Verma, my grandmother (नानी), passed away a few days ago. She was the pillar of the household and the community in Bhagmalpur. For a woman who didn’t go to school past 8th grade and lived most of her adult life in Bhagmalpur, she had some very open-minded opinions about the world. She encouraged people to read, study, go to school, and be as educated as one could be. She raised her 11 children in Bhagmalpur (three died young) to not only go to school, but become a doctor, an engineer, a college graduate or go on to get a Master’s degree. Impressive for a village woman with a middle school education.
We have a room on the second floor in our home in Bhagmalpur, which used to be a library back in the day. She couldn’t read the English-language books there, but would say “When I die, come into this room and call my name. This is where you’ll find me”.
In her honor, we are starting the Kamala Project. We plan to run a Book Server in Bhagmalpur, with a capacity to serve several thousand books. We’ll start off with the Pathagar book server project and go from there. The 14 XOs in Bhagmalpur are a good starting point to read books with. Pathagar can work outside the OLPC XO laptop software stack as well, so we should be able to reach out to others with regular laptops as well.
To Kamala Verma. We’ll come into the library and call your name. Your spirit shall live and prosper over the millions of bytes we hope to spread.