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Reading habit needs revival

Tariq Khalique

Reading habit, once considered as one of the main tools to build character of a person, society and nation, at large, is fading away, not only in the new generation, but in elderly people too. The culture of reading is crucial for independent knowledge acquisition and lifelong learning. Reading builds the essential attributes for self-advancement and social development. But it seems as if we are living in an age of browsing internet, playing with cell phones, etc.

Reading a book in a peaceful corner of a library or a study room in houses has turned to become an old-fashioned idea. It was not long ago when book reading culture was a visible landmark of the educated lot — books were considered the source of knowledge for developing verbal abilities, improving concentration, enhancing imagination and a good pastime.

There is an old saying, “Reading makes a man perfect”, and it was widely accepted that avid readers have the tendency to grasp things better and in its true spirit, but in this modern age of technological advancements, the focus has tilted towards playing with funky handsets, passing non-stop SMS and browsing through websites, just for enjoyment.

The internet boom, TV and the silver screen have taken over the time of the people, both young and old and that ultimately vanish the reading habit.

Unfortunately, only a few people spend their spare time with books. Technology may have helped develop mankind, but it also seems to be robbing away the simple charms of life that we grew up with – for instance, book reading and the essence of it.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies … The man who never reads lives only one” (George R R Martin, American novelist)

Our parents used to encourage us towards books, magazines and newspapers, but in this modern age, parents themselves have become so prone to the technology that one cannot expect a child to develop reading as a habit. Parents should themselves become an example for their children.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” (Emilie Buchwald, an editor, poet, teacher, and award-winning children’s author)

Nowadays, people are either glued to television or the computers, smartphones, tablets, etc, and hardly get time to sit and read.

Majority would agree that the reading habit is fading away and if not encouraged, it could be just a habit talked about and followed by a few of us.

I feel that the satisfaction of actually reading a book is very pleasant and different. For me one cannot sit on a gadget for hours reading something, but when it comes to books, a person can sit for hours, relaxed with least strain on the eyes.

Speaking from my experience, I would always prefer reading a book in its true form rather than browsing through a gadget. But unfortunately, majority of the books sold these days are mainly textbooks or reference books.

“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest (people) of the past centuries.” (Rene Descartes, French philosopher, mathematician and a scientist)

We should also realise that thousands of people are associated with the field of publishing, and in these hard times, we should at least, give some support to them for their survival. We should also need to revive book reading habit for this can make a person wiser and calmer, compared with the person who sits on a gadget.

According to various studies, psychological problems also emanate from the ardent use of these ‘so-called’ technological advancements, resulting in harsh behaviours, intolerance and the lack of patience among the people. We need to aware people about the importance of reading books before it is too late.

“One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society — is to read to children.” (Carl Sagan, an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences)

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