Receding Reading Public

Photo credits: Showkat Shafi

By Abid Hussain Rather

WHEN we start searching for quotations and write-ups regarding the necessity and importance of studying books, we find thousands of quotations and articles penned down by various intellectuals and philosophers in the course of history.  Speeches are given in various conferences and seminars organized at different occasions regarding the imperativeness   of erudition in our lives. Still, studying books has become an abandoned habit in our society.

Increasingly, the reading public in Kashmir has declined especially because of the youth. It seems that nowadays people have lost the literary taste and are detouring from books. We constantly see that with every passing day, kids are losing interest in studying and it is observed that they mostly remain busy with social media, television and a plethora of options offered by World Wide Web. Another reason for detachment from exploring the literary world is tight schedule of schools, home work, tuitions etc. After all these things our children find little or no time for studying other books and literature beyond their prescribed syllabus.

There is a broad and vast world of literature beyond the prescribed books in our educational institutions. Nowadays, the trend of getting maximum marks in examination has restricted our children to tuitions, tests and short notes only. The students have even lost the habit of reading their curriculum books. The system of mechanical teaching and learning process in schools has also kept the students away from the world of books.

When we have a glance at the developed countries of the world, we find that people in such countries still posses a good literary taste and are fond of studying books. It has been found that even in the present digital technology world, 64% people in America read paper books while as 28% read digital books. During 2017, almost 80% of readers in America were people in the age group of 18 to 29 years. 30% people in America read books daily while as 25% people read a book once in a week. In India, 32% children read 24 books yearly.  It is difficult to present the data regarding the trend of studying among Muslims but from observations it has been found that the results are not very satisfactory.  One of the major reasons for the decline of the Muslim ummah is that we have lost the fervor of learning.

The dream of a majestic and elegant future of a nation depends on its passion and enthusiasm for knowledge and knowledge is correlated to the love for learning as knowledge comes from studying. When we talk about a bright and prosperous future of a nation, it is unavoidable to think about its children and how to develop the habit of studying among them. Let’s ruminate some ways and methods in which we can develop the literary taste among our children:

It is the duty of parents to create a conducive environment for learning in their homes for bright career of their kids. There should be small libraries in every houses with variety of books and a particular time for studying should be formulated by replacing the watching of some futile programs on our TV sets.

It has been found that people leave studying books if they find any difficulty in understanding a book. So it is advisable to help such people in studying a book. We should help them in knowing new words, idioms and phrases.

It is necessary to make book purchasing a routine habit to create a conducive atmosphere for studying in our houses. We should spare some money in every month for purchasing some books. Most of us spend some money on wasteful activities which are rather harmful for us in the longer run. We should divert that amount for buying books. Parents should develop a sense in their children for saving some amount from their pocket money for purchasing books. Giving books as gifts to people on special occasions can be a step forward in this direction. Different social and religious organization should create a system of reading rooms and libraries in far flung areas where, otherwise, people are unable to access the books of their choice for studying.

Persuasion and encouragement acts as a catalyst in every work. So it is desirable to persuade people towards studying by organizing seminars, competitions etc. Children should be awarded suitably for reading a book and qualifying quiz competitions regarding studying various books. Target reading and prize awarding culture should be created in our educational institutions.

It is necessary to visit libraries with our families to introduce our children to the world of books, but unfortunately there are no libraries in our villages. We should take our children to different libraries during holidays so that they may develop an interest towards books.

There has been a custom of organizing book fairs in big cities by different publishers.  Besides helping us in purchasing variety of books, such fairs develop an interest towards studying books in us.  Government should help the publishers and other stakeholders to organize such book fairs in rural areas also to help people in developing a literary taste.

Besides above there can be many more practical ways and inklings to motivate people specially our youngsters towards studying books as it has been said where there is a will there is a way.

  • The author is a columnist and teaches Geography at GDC, Kulgam. He can be reached at [email protected]

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