'I want to introduce the village people to an extraordinary world, the world I had once found within the pages inside fascinating books'
Lokman Hossain, a door-to-door book salesman in his sixties, is a very passionate booklover from Atrai upazila of Naogaon. His absolute dedication towards his job of selling books on foot for over two decades has earned him much respect and admiration from his readers.
People in the village, around breakfast time every morning, find Lokman at their doorsteps with his bag of books, containing works of such reputed writers as Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay and Humayun Ahmed, for them to enjoy in the comfort of their homes.
Lokman Hossain, from Amrul Kasba of Atrai, has spent 21 of his 60 years in this profession. He has been selling books since the 1990s. His desire to introduce his favourite books to his readers does not have an ulterior motive. Lokman does it simply to keep the villagers away from bad habits by keeping them absorbed in the joy of reading.
He caters to over a thousand readers of all ages. Every morning, without fail, the sexagenarian man leaves home with his bagful of books and his bicycle, which has more books strapped to its back.
Suruj Miya, a resident of Muniyari village, said: “I often buy my sons books from Lokman Hossain without ever needing to leave the house. Now I am very happy that my boys have picked up the habit of spending quality time reading various storybooks aside from their school textbooks.
Lucky, a college student from Bhompara village, said: “It was difficult staying home without anything to do when my college closed during the lockdown. But then I started developing a hobby of reading books that were brought to me by Lokman uncle. I don’t even have to go to the city; I can get all the books I need from Lokman uncle.”
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, the walking library himself, Lokman Hossain, said: “I became acquainted with books and newspapers at a very early age. But my hobby wasn’t very practical and proved to be very difficult to maintain, living so far away from the city, in a rural village with no library in sight.
“With a dream of owning a library full of books one day, I set out 21 years ago and began selling books door-to-door, which I continue to this day.”
He says he wants to continue the book reading movement all his life. “I want to introduce the village people to an extraordinary world, the world I had once found within the pages inside fascinating books.”