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Book Marks                                                 By Ajit Nagpurkar           



I was studying in the school, we had a subject Crafts, in which we had to learn how to stitch our clothes, by drawing a forma on plain cloth, cut, stitch and all that.   Our teacher had a long Register and would make one page for each student, putting the measurements and drawing a sketch.  When once he was measuring my waist,he had put his large wooden T-Square, in between the pages of his long Register, while closing.  I found it was so thick a T-square that it was bulging and heavy for that Register. In my other craft class, I once took a long paper, doubled it and made another T-square of that thick paper and gave it to my Teacher to use it in his Register  as a book mark .

So actually, for me this is the first book mark, came into being in this world.  But that was my world.  Because, then I started making book marks,that of paper, cardboard, cloth, some pieces of embroidered cloth taken from the waste collected  by  my mother. 

The book mark has a fantastic use to go straight to that page of the book, where you stopped or paused your reading.  It is a beauty to see the book shelf in someone’s house and watch the book marks, propping out of the book.  That is so lively.  Whereas the book shops have fresh new brand books on shelf, all looking at you.    

Once we had a book publishing function and the book was on Sacred Groves.   We took dried leaves from that place and painted one small bunch of typical leaves on the Paper book mark, putting a remark as if the leaves are saying,

 ‘You picked me up  from the ground for sitting in the ‘leaves’ of the book’ 

The reader takes the book again to start reading from book mark.  His curiosity is at peaks to know, what will be the end of the particular story.    Here the  book mark says

  ‘In ever know the end, because you never mark it’ .

If you observe the book mark travels through all the pages and you mark it anywhere, but you never mark the end.  Hence the bookmark does not know the end.

 A few other remarks on the book mark along with some designs :


‘On your first pause of reading, my journey starts’ 

‘I always keep on peeping out of the book  for you to come and open’

     ‘I am your ‘Page’, to show you the page number, where you left last’

Like these different thoughts and quotes on the book marks are interesting and make them attractive. Similarly, the design on it,the form in which it is and the material with which it is made are another attractions added to the function of the book mark.  

There used to be two very typical things one dried Pee pal leaf  screen and Peacock feathers, which were the romantic symbols of the book mark in the past.   



Book marks are found in history, way back since 15th century.  Hand crafted book marks from handmade paper were also seen in the paintings during 16th to 18thcentury.  The history shows the uses of book marks especially for British Queens, for uses in the Bibles and till recently by Foundations with some signs and remarks.  The  book marks have since long been made from Leather, Silk, paper, paper board, perforated boards, cloth, silk,  plaited silk,  and silver cords etc.  They have been made  with some cut out pictures, or embossed,printed, attached with ribbons and so on.  The bookmarks are known to carry the messages, thoughts, quotes from renowned authors and famous personalities. The pictures of kings, queens and such leaders, or decorated with certain designs and divine pictures have also been the contents on the bookmarks.

Interestingly, there have been instances where certain libraries, private collectors and book shops with books exchanges,  found funny things used as book marks.  The examples are from cheese strip, flowers, sticks, nails, envelopes, to  photos, biscuits, cigarettes  etc.etc. These were the signs of closing the book in a hurry and not so desirable.   

There are other book marks, when one uses currency notes, lottery tickets, bus tickets, movie tickets, hair clip, dry leaf or dry flower,  used credit card, playing card etc.  

It  is alright to  use Tags of shirts etc. only  thinner not very thick  Or made of blotting paper, wrapper of chocolate, sandalwood paper, butter paper and so on.  Once we know and want to take care, we can select and make bookmarks accordingly. It is very thoughtful to make such new handmade book mark and give while returning a borrowed book, or while giving it to someone for reading or even as a gift. 

Once I put the book mark,while taking a pause in reading and somehow, it was dropped out of the book,then you have to search from where to read. Of course, many a times, it happens that even we open the book, exactly where we left it last, with the help of bookmark, even then we go back a page or two reading  the last situation for continuation. 

In any case, use the bookmarks, use the right substitute to book mark, if you don’t have one at that pause time. In one library, I saw a note saying,

‘Do not create   the dog ears at the page end, rather use bookmarks’  

So let us make a note at this juncture, to use book marks and  handle the book softly, delicately and with great love. This is something respecting the book, respecting the knowledge, so be the reader – a lover of the book and just care for it, handle with delicacy. 

Book mark is a book mark, so use it, like it, love it,  gift it  and share it always !  


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Ajit.D. Nagpurkar



     25th November 2019

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