The Encyclopedia Man – Meet Harnarain Singh Myer
A senior citizen of our neighbourhood recounts his journey through the production of several encyclopaedia
Now at the ripe age of 85, Harnarain Singh Myer, a senior citizen of our neighbourhood recounts his journey through the production of several encyclopaedia.
While the prime years of his life were spent in the management of tea plantations in West Bengal, his passion for collating and presenting information lay dormant.
Right from his school days he was involved in GK quiz competitions. He created the world’s smallest 100 page encyclopaedia.
The seed for creating a concise encyclopaedia – Reference Encyclopaedia India 2001 – was sown in 1995 – at a time when the digital information world had not yet penetrated the country as it is today.
During his travels to London he had interactions with people there with regard to the well known Encyclopaedia Britannica. However this vast collection of data was in 33 volumes and searching for specific information can be quite a task. Myer therefore planned to put the information in his encyclopaedia in a thematic order so as to make retrieval of information easier. The challenge was to make the information as concise as possible with losing the essence and important aspects of each topic. While most encyclopaedia carry information of the past, Myers effort was to document the past, present and a hint of the future.
This information packed tome was finally published in 1999. The first volume was released at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, by the then President of India, Shri Shankar Dayal Sharma.
The research for this encyclopaedia brought him in contact with many research oriented people and those very knowledgeable and eminent in various fields. He got very valuable inputs from the research scholars at the Indian Institute of Science at Bengaluru. At the World Book Fair at New Delhi he met representative of an American foundation who ordered 300 copies of his encyclopaedia.
Myer is also been the force behind the MERMAID Centre (Myers Economic Research, Marketing, Information & Documentation Centre) that was established in 1971 with the aim of setting up a specialised data base for sifting mass of data, processing for easy retrieval and presentation in an innovative ‘instant’ format that is necessarily authentic, accurate and relevant. This Centre has produced the incredibly compact Economic Encyclopaedia in 1976 followed by the INDMARK India Economic Compass and several other reference works and publications that include a national award winning poster ” Land That Lingers”.
Harnarain Singh Meyer is now is the process of putting together his autobiography. We are certain that it will be peppered with very interesting experiences and anecdotes and insights that will take the reader through the very eventful journey of life that Myer has been travelling through.