The first book village in India is Bhilar, located in Maharashtra’s Satara district, not in Kerala.
Congress leader and MP from Kerala Shashi Tharoor claimed in his tweet that India’s first and only book village is in Kerala. By sharing a video by a content creator, he made this claim. The video mentions about a village in Kerala called Perumkulam.
We performed a keyword search for India’s first book village and found several articles. According to a Times of India article dated 25 June 2018, the first book village book in India was started in Bhilar, Maharashtra. The idea behind creating this book village was floated by Rajya Marathi Vikas Sanstha and Education Minister Vinod Tawde. On May 4, 2017, the village got its formal identity as ‘Pustakanche Gao’ or ‘the village of books’ and was open for public. More than 75 artists were appointed by the Maharashtra government to create reading hotspots by painting at designated locations in the village. Additionally, 25 locations were selected to be transformed into reading hotspots, divided into categories like poetry, history, biographies, festival specials, biographies, literature and many more.
Travel magazine Outlook Traveller also carried a report on the village, stating that Bhilar used to be a hub for strawberry farming before being converted.
We also came across a video regarding Maharashtra’s Bhilar, India’s first ‘village of books’ on Mink’s Youtube channel. The video was uploaded on 8 May, 2017. The description states “Modelled on Hay-on-Wye, the famous ‘town of books’ in Wales, India’s ‘village of books’ is set to come up in Bhilar in Maharashtra”.
Next, we did a keyword search for Perumkulam and the results led us to a report by The Hindu, published in June 2021. It states, a village in Kerala’s Kollam district was declared a ‘Pusthaka Gramam’ means village of books on 19, June 2021. The report further mentions, “Writer MT Vasudevan Nair first, informally, described the village thus in June 2020. Inspiration for it came from Bhilar, in Maharashtra’s Satara district, which was declared Pustakanch Gaav (village of books) in 2017”.
Other media outlets such as The Indian Express and The Times of India, also carried similar articles. All of this data shows that Perumkulam, Kerala, is not the first or only book village in India. It is the first book village of Kerala.
Fact Crescendo found the claim made along with the viral image to be Misleading. A village called Bhilar in Maharashtra’s Satara district is India’s first book village. Perumkulam is the first book village of Kerala.
Title:Is India’s first and only book village is in Kerala? Know the truthWritten By: Usha Manoj