Chief minister Narendra Modi launched two campaigns called ‘Vanche Gujarat’ and ‘Samay-Dan’ in Gandhinagar on Thursday. The campaigns are aimed at promoting reading habit in the state and encourage youth to allocate 100 hours for the betterment of society respectively. The CM said that the campaigns will showcase Gujarat’s social strength and will take the crown positions at the state’s golden jubilee celebrations.
One of the programmes slated for Swarnim Gujarat is ‘Vanche Gujarat’ – a programme that focuses on promoting the art of reading across the state. It is written clearly on the wall that reading habit is dying out slowly.
The adage “Wear an old coat and buy a new book” is rare and people seldom boast about their extensive and exhaustive collection of books. A personal library in every home is reducing in number, a home library is no longer part of the compulsory architectural brief when one is building a home, since it takes million of rupees to stock up a library where as a desk top personal computer available for a few thousand rupees can bring an ocean of information through the internet to one’s desk at the click of a button.
Many other factors can be attributed to the drop in the habit of reading. Before the advent of electronic goods, reading was the primary leisure pastime, second to travelling. The intrusion of television created the first dent in the reading habit. The invention of electronic and video toys further nailed the habit down especial among school and college goers. All this, despite the obvious benefits of higher IQ, better conversational style and better general knowledge, which good reading habits bring about.
The pressure of reading for the sake of examination seems to have driven in the final nail. Simultaneously, the reading habit of people is also undergoing a change. The new age ways of reading through the tablet computers, smart phones easy access to web based information, the penetration of net books due to its cheap pricing and the Kindle — a digital reading tool — are heralding a new age of digital reading.
The rate at which the younger generation is adapting to the digital reading habit, it is feared that the publishing industry may receive a serious threat to retaining its market share. It is debatable whether digital reading is going to take over the print medium or not, particularly since it is seen that typically, people use the web for scanning relevant information. Web habits show that people tend to spend no more than a few minutes on each site. The TV channel surfing habit is common among the internet viewers too.
Online Libraries and online news publication are redefining the reading habits too, since people slot different hours during the day to catch up on news reading, unlike the olden times, when the newspapers was religiously meant to be read with the morning cup of chai. All told, the joy of reading lies in savoring the lines of the print, of imagining the descriptions given by the author and getting immersed in the book itself. The title page, the print type the touch and feel of paper all add to the multi sensory experience of reading.
Several skills based programs such as concepts of speed reading have not succeed much because they knock the joy out of reading. The Vanche Gujarat is a wonderful programme in many ways. It is heartening to see that it is trying to revive the old habit of reading in the society. It is also enriching to know that the government is promoting a reading program as a part of its centenary celebrations.This program aims to reach out to millions of kids through mobile reading vans, though neighborhood libraries, through reading interventions in local schools, though street plays on the importance of reading and though donation drives for books. Kudos!