My Power Quote !

A good book on a rainy day is happiness for me - Ruskin Bond

Sunday, March 27, 2011


We are groomed in a system where books are treated more as an academic tool than life enriching experience. We see only a minuscule percentage of people who nurture reading as a habit beyond student life.

When I undertake journeys, it is appalling to see few people with books. In this respect, our Western counterparts are a wiser lot, because their society is more knowledge centric. This behavioral deficiency can be cured by taking a conscious decision to nurture the habit of reading as a daily dose to make life more blissful.

“Books” according to American critic E.P. Whipple, “ are lighthouses erected in the great sea of time. “ Through reading, we get the endurance to accommodate the view point of others. Reading is more a sort of exercise to the mind. A book will give the necessary impetus to withstand the pulls and pressures of daily life. Books are messengers through which a person’s ideas, experiences and insights are shared with the whole world.

The great people of past have already recognized the credence of books. The Catholic archbishop, poet and writer François Fénelon sagely said “If the crowns of all the kingdoms of the empire were laid down at my feet in exchange for my books and my love of reading, I would spurn them all

Books should not be chosen casually as we are generally deceived by such crazy  titles.  You must be  intelligent enough to choose a good book.  Once you cross this barrier,  the ‘how’ of reading a book is better interpreted by Sir Francis Bacon : “some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”.

Reading makes a complete man. Moreover, reading is not a passive activity. To read a book, you have to prepare the mind in that direction and a conducive atmosphere needs to be created.  The decisive factor  in choosing a good book is to gaze into it's reviews which form a central plank in deciding the fate of the book.

In fact the holistic approach for book reading is to take important notes in the course of reading that book which will aid  you  in future for reference.  Book reading is not for sensual pleasure. The books that kindle our imagination and elevate our thoughts are the right kind to read. “ No entertainment is so cheap as reading” says 18th century writer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. We can not bring any radical change in people’s perception regarding ‘books’ unless we first achieve cent per cent literacy.

According to the 2009 UN Human Development Report,  adult literacy rate of India is pegged at 66 %. We are in shambles with regard to Human Development Index (HDI) which is 0.612,  lagging behind our neighbouring island nation Sri Lanka which is at 0.759.

A multi-pronged approach is needed to achieve the objective of raising the literacy rate. Yearly Book Fairs that are now held only in some select cities need to spread to every district headquarter and a coordinated approach is required to attract local people. More over State Libraries need to be strengthened with adequate funds to mould them as ‘modern temples of knowledge’. School children must be nurtured to go to libraries and parents need to give books  as gifts for occasions. There is also a need for Self Knowledge Groups’ among students and other stakeholders  for sharing of knowledge.

Other than governmental interference in the form of financial aid and policy planning, a parental approach will only bring a perceptible change, otherwise we continue to remain in dirt.

The article already published in The New Indian Express 
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