TODAY -

The dying culture of reading

Liba Hopeson *



In this fast changing world, when there are copious glamorous and alluring things to amuse us, perhaps, it will not be a delight for many to read even a short article on the dying culture of reading. Indeed, it is affecting us dreadfully but we are not somber enough to address it. It is a disease now Ė an infectious disease.

Those avid and voracious readers, too, surprisingly or unsurprisingly, started suggesting me to write very short articles (note the word very), adding that people donít have fervor in reading anymore. Nevertheless, I donít want to be easily influenced by that philosophy, though it seems reasonable and true. I would refute that argument in another write up, not here. But, Iím not brining to light here to make this write-up lengthy.

When we are on the stage of developing writing culture, sadly, there is a seeming decline in reading. The dying culture of reading alerts us that the pace of progress in writing will be dismal and pathetic. The writer has heard multiple comments from people that our society needs more writers. But writing involves thinking and reading. If reading is neglected, there will be big deficiency in thinking and reasoning. Thus, the dying culture of reading affects our life and society enormously.

Trying to be relevant in this topsy-turvy world has become very irrelevant in many ways. As Os Guinness rightly coined the words, Ďidol of relevanceí, we become slaves of relevancy. We are unable to learn and master many things well, for our intense urge to be relevant with the present world pull us down.

When the majority masses are obsessed in something, if you stay away from it or even maintain balance, you become eccentric and bizarre in the sight of others. Iím not projecting a view that we should not go in rhythm with time or use the facilities available today, but there is a danger when we want to be over-relevant in everything. Our conscience can be blinded greatly by the usable and valuable materials which the world offers us.

Iím bringing this argument because, as I study and contemplate, I realize that the desire to be relevant has trampled the desire to read. Consequently, if this is not meticulously considered and checked, the malady will become lethal.

When the author argues that there is a dying culture of reading, it should not be understood that there are no readers at all in our society. There are a good number of students who are studious. No doubt, by being diligent one can achieve success, but to be excellent, as Shiv Khera puts it, one has to do things differently.

Sadly, the education system in India, as thousands wish it changed, has not changed much. Much worse in our land, albeit inapt to compare with the cities, our system has unfavorable effect in various ways. Idle students stay idle, hard working students continue to mug up what is in the text books, not bothering whether they understand or not.

Adding to the crisis, parents are naive about this problem which doesnít seem to be a problem. We are overly concerned about marks, result and percentage. Thus, reading newspapers, magazines and other books become insignificant for many students.

But, ironically, if the students get good result, we want them to get better results in higher classes. To get better results, reading books apart from syllabus text books would mean wastage of time for our people. Thatís how many get better results. And when they get better results, parents want them to compete in exams which need early preparation.

Interestingly, many are let down with the imagination of good results lingering in their mind. There are many who achieve success or surpass others as they get good results, but there are many who are ruined because of good results they get. If laxity is not driving you, I believe that the notion expounded or exposed on result is not misconstrued.

If the dying culture of reading is not seriously considered, weíll become shallow and hollow. Weíll talk more as we know less. Unnecessary arguments will augment. So, reading culture needs to be restored. Reading habit can be cultivated and developed. Constant reminder to the students is imperative.

We need to educate certain parents so that they can educate their children rightly. Novel ideas need to be shared by intellectuals, educationists and teachers to tackle this crisis.

I would like to state again, this dying culture of reading is a disease, infecting us awfully.

Throw up the symptoms; let it fall on the remedy box! Let people complain you for having the taste of reading.


* Liba Hopesona wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on July 23, 2015.


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