Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
It happened before COVID 19, but has become even more relevant in present circumstance. A few months ago, a news item touched me from within that Government of Austria has issued an official order that one holding book of Peter Handke will travel free in public transport. Peter Handke, hailing from Austria has been conferred upon with prestigious Noble Prize for Literature for ‘An influential work that with Linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specialty of human expression’. It realized me that there are countries, much concerned about literature and their authors.
It’s a well known fact that books are the best friends. Now knowledge is such a vast thing that despite reading and learning for entire life one can’t boast for having reached to a level where one may feel satisfied. Thirst for knowledge should never end.
If I say about myself then I feel proud that I was born in a family which was fond of reading. I recall that when I was growing up, I found so many books at my home. When I started reading Chandamama, Gudiya, Champak, Lotpot, Nandan etc., I realized that books have entirely a different world. With the passage of time I started enjoying this beautiful world which offered me peace of mind and an everlasting experience that can’t be described in words. It can be realized only. New books became craze and Comics of different characters like Phantom, Bahadur, Flash Gordon, Rip Kirbi, Richie Rich etc and Amar Chitra Katha involving mythological characters, patriotic characters and other social characters became my passion. The list is endless which has been increasing day by day helping me to feel captivated with new ideas, new characters and new expressions. Anyhow, what I wish to convey through this column is that Books can’t be substituted by any other thing.
It’s human tendency that right from the advent of Human race on planet Earth, human beings opted for good friends. Now there are so many types of friends like human beings, animals, birds etc. and books.
As per a young banker, “Books are faithful, knowledgeable and take you entirely to a new world. Books can give you something that no one can give and knowledge stays with you no matter what the circumstances you face.”
He is very much right. Hailing from a small town like Nowshehra near Rajouri where there are no means of entertainment, books have always stood by him like a true friend thus not only entertaining him but imparting knowledge as well. When he migrated to Jammu for higher studies, books came even closer during that phase of life when isolation was a mess to deal with. Truly, books take you to a new world wherein you play with different characters in different locations thus enjoying every dimension of life. You move on with the characters, get involved with the plot and are a part by writing screenplay at your will.
Now, what sort of books one should read? Although all books have certain content that accounts for knowledge but it depends upon individuals how they take it. At the same time there might be some reservations over bold contents but even such books are best companions for a certain class. Yes, cheap literature is dangerous which instigates the readers to adopt unfair means to satisfy lust and increases crime rate as well. While reading books selection of good literature is a must.
In the past, elder ladies like grandmother or mother used to tell their grandchildren or children stories about great personalities to cast an impression on young kids and help them to build up their character. These bed time stories were very popular time pass as well as for imparting knowledge. Indirectly such a habit also helped the generation to get attracted towards books.
In European countries, reading a book has been an addiction but it’s such an intoxicant that everyone wants to get addicted to. We see foreigners reading novels while travelling in India who don’t wish to waste even a minute of their life and keep themselves either in creative works or gaining knowledge through books. Ironically, in our country there is no inclination for reading. The youths prefer to waste time in useless gossips that lead to frustration only. In fact, who love to read books are called Bookworms.
What’s heartening is that in the entire world only Bharat, our own country has produced so many writers who have been contributing to world class literature for ages. Our Vedas, Shastras, Srimad Bhagwat Gita, epic Ramayana, myth Mahabharat and other numerous religious and fiction works indicate that this nation had the tendency of writing and reading.
Now a question arises why writing was a passion in ancient India ? If India had the privilege of producing world class literature of every genre, whether religious or social and even sex also, then there had been readers also who read the classical works, appreciated and inspired others to go for writing. It is pertinent to add here that Kamsutra, critically acclaimed worldwide has been the best treatise on sex.
Now, when we find best sellers from western countries then it hurts. They have taken over us. But on the other hand if they are getting their works recognized globally then undoubtedly they deserve it too. They have readers who inspire writers. After all if a creative work gets recognized, only then a creative work gets done.
An atmosphere needs to be created in the country for book reading. Excess of entertainment through satellite channels being served to masses needs a break. But it can happen with volunteer efforts only. Otherwise tough competition has been going on among satellite channels to win over each other. It should be understood by one and all that WORDS increase imagination and VISUALS served kill that. You are not at liberty to take your own flight and are restricted to provided options. Here the imagination ends and so ends the creativity or capacity to think at own_ a fatal approach to live life in real terms. Library Culture is the identity of a civilized society and should be boosted.
During lockdown, now everyone has an opportunity to go through the books on varied subjects and pass quality time while enriching own knowledge.
Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’