Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi penned his thoughts and beliefs regarding education and power of books which can ignite the spark of knowledge in our society. Writing his blog, the Chief Minister shares his experience of inaugurating 2nd Ahmedabad National Book Fair.
Donating books to ignite the spark of knowledge in society:
A few days ago I inaugurated the 2nd Ahmedabad National Book Fair. This wonderful initiative is a part of the Vanche Gujarat Mission. It is organized by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in association with National Book Trust and with support from Gujarat Sahitya Parishad and Gujarat Prakashak Mandal with a determination to popularize books among the people of Gujarat.
The response to last year's book fair was phenomenal! People cutting across all age groups converged at the venue to get their favourite titles in Gujarat, Hindi and English. Many people wrote to me congratulating the authorities for their wonderful efforts to organize a book fair such as this and sought more such fairs in the times to come.
This year's book fair is on a larger scale. What I found special about the fair is a separate counter to donate books!Anyone who is visiting the fair can donate books at the counter. During my visit to the book fair, I had the privilege of donating a book on Sardar Patel.
The purpose of this endeavour is to create an atmosphere where books can reach those sections of society where they have either not reached at all or the reach has been slower than what it should be.
This is a determination to share the joys of reading and the joys of education with the larger society around us. This effort goes beyond mere budgetary allocations or government programmes, it is about collectively doing something that will have a lasting impact on our society. It is about our values and culture.
I was very delighted to see kiosks for young children at the book fair. Time and again, I have always stressed on the need to inculcate the habit of reading among our youth. Technology and packaging can play a great role in this.
We are slowly moving to an age where entire libraries will be available at the click of a mouse! I see a lot of youngsters reading e-books on their tablet computers, on platforms such as Kindle.
This is a big opportunity for us and we must integrate technology in making books popular among our youth.
Along with technology, packaging can make an immense difference.
Take the case of Panchtantra series. This series became very popular among youngsters because of integration of technology and effective packaging. Even Amar Chitra Kathas have repackaged themselves to strike a chord with youngsters, thus leading to a further rise in their popularity.
Infact, in a time when video games draw youngsters more than books, we should think of creating such video games that draw youngsters to read and enjoy books.
There was another initiative that we tried in Gujarat to spread joys of reading. This initiative is the ‘Floating Books Programme,' where a particular book is shared by a group of friends. Once a person finishes reading it, he or she passes it on to the others. This is both economical as well as increases participation.
Friends, I urge you all to take time off and visit the book fair. I specially urge my young friends to go there, to see the books to interact and encourage the authors and most importantly, to donate as many books as possible.
Remember that you are not only donating a book but also giving a life to someone else, you are giving something that is an incarnation of Goddess Saraswati and something that will ignite a spark of curiosity and knowledge in the another mind.