Guwahati: The Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu today expressed concern over the decline in book-reading habit, especially among the young people, and called upon the educational institutions and the academia, to inculcate the practice of reading from a very young age.
Inaugurating the 21st North East Book Fair organized by the All Assam Publishers and Booksellers Association (AAPBA) in Guwahati, the Vice President said that students must be encouraged to look at reading as a fun activity rather than a chore.
The Vice President observed that with the advent of internet, children prefer to search online for information rather than rely on books. He said “reading books, especially stories, is no longer the norm. Children prefer watching videos online.”
Urging parents to serve as role models to their children and read books themselves so that the children emulate them, the Vice President suggested that schools must setup reading camps and workshops.
Shri Naidu said that reading of books was a voyage through time and like having a conversation with finest people. “The wisdom that you gain from these conversations is unparalleled”.
The Vice President observed that books have the power to inspire and motivate us with stories of people who have fought against odds to succeed. “Books have the power to stir our creativity and stimulate innovative and inventive ideas,” he added.
Referring to the critical role played by the library movement in different parts of the country, the Vice President called for keeping the legacy of library movement alive. “I strongly believe that for the society to benefit from books, there is a need to have one library per village,” he added.
Apart from library, there should also be a common prayer room and a service hall in every village.
He also suggested that book fairs should also be conducted at regular intervals in every district to promote reading habit. At the same time there was also need to promote quality books in terms of content.
Referring to abrogation of Article 370, the Vice President said that it was an internal matter of India and called for countering the disinformation campaign on the issue. He urged people to remain united and shun forces of divisive nature.
The Vice President also paid rich tributes to former Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on the occasion of his birth anniversary on October 31st and described him as unifier of India.
The Governor of Assam, Prof. Jagadish Mukhi, Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal and Education Minister of Assam, Shri Siddhartha Bhattacharya were among the dignitaries including publishers, writers, poets, and students present at the event. As many as 217 bookstalls, including one from Bangladesh, have been put up for visitors at the 12- day-long event.