This hairdresser runs salon-cum-library; wins praise from PM

If you heard PM Narendra Modi’s Mann Ki Baat this sunday, then you are likely to be aware of Thoothukudi’s famous barber Pon Mariappan. For those who are still wondering, what the story is, read on:

Pon Mariappan is a barber who runs a very small salon in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. He, however, is an inspiration for everyone there. That’s because he has converted a small portion of his salon into a library. If a customer, while waiting for his turn, reads a book in the library (at least 10 pages) and writes about it, Marriyappan offers him a discount of up to Rs 30.

“I have studied up to class 8th. I could not further my studies beyond that due to family circumstances. When I see educated people, I feel something amiss in me. So, I thought why not establish a library, which would benefit many people, this became an inspiration for me,” he said while speaking to the PM in the monthly programme..

In 2014, when he opened his salon, he noticed that while waiting for their turn for the hair cut, his customers often kept themselves occupied by watching TV in his salon or playing with their cell phones. That’s when he decided to replace TV with books. Today, he has a collection of more than 900 books in both Tamil and English in his mini-library.

His efforts have also been applauded by Thoothukudi MP, Kanimozhi who has contributed 50 books to his library.

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