Warangal: After travelling 1,000 km in 100 days, pushing his cart laden with books through the streets of Hyderabad and later through hundreds of villages in the state, former journalist and Hyderabad businessman Sheik Sadiq Ali will hit the roads once again, after a short break.
Famous as ‘Topudu Bandi Sadiq’, his topudu bandi (pushcart) had carried Telugu literature and books of poems to villages and to be sold at affordable prices to anyone with a passion for reading.
His journey to encourage the habit of reading books began in Hydera-bad and ended in Warangal in January last year.
He had covered Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda, Medak, Jangaon and reached Warangal district.
Now 53, Mr Sadiq Ali’s urge to deliver to the rural areas has not diminished. After a gap of more than one year, he decided to set out on the road once again in the slums of Warangal. The second phase of Mr Sadiq Ali’s verse on wheels is going to begin in a couple of days.
“The people living in the villages and slums do not have the resources required for their development. However, I noticed during my previous tour that there is a lot of talent in the rural areas. I want to give them the exposure and the facilities they lack. There are about 28 slums in Warangal. I have decided to distribute books to the children and the passionate people in these areas,” Mr Sadiq Ali said.
During his 1,000-km effort, he set up about 70 libraries in several villages and schools. Apart from books he also provided chairs and tables for these libraries and does not say ‘no’ to anyone who approaches him with a request to set up another such library even today.
Not just schools, Mr Sadiq Ali also donated books to the Warangal Central Library recently to enable the prisoners to continue reading good books.
“There is not much to life if we do not contribute to the betterment of society. Though I haven’t got enough resources to continue this movement, I can confidently say ‘Thopudu Bandi’ is not done yet. There is still a lot more to be done,” he said.
After putting an end to a career as a journalist with a few Telugu newspapers and TV channels and then freelancing for a while in the ’80s and ’90s, Sheik Sadiq Ali ultimately settled down and set up a marriage bureau in Hyderabad.
Mr Sadiq Ali also has apartments that he has let out on rent in Hyderabad. He uses the money to fund the library-on-a-pushcart.
He loves the Himalayas and the Bhagavad Gita, both of which he regards as the greatest heritage of every Indian.
He even travelled in the Himalayas to satisfy his spiritual thirst.
Born in Kalluru of Khammam district, Mr Sadiq Ali married Ms Usha Dayal, his friend since the age of four.
Ms Dayal is joint director of agriculture for Warangal Urban and Rural districts....