The Observer

Aug 10, 2017

Although newspapers have a wide circulation and news websites have a massive viewership, reading books for pleasure, learning, and research does not seem to a priority in the Pakistani society. Schools, colleges and universities do not emphasise enough the use of the library in the learning process. Besides, our examination system is forcing students not to read any book except for the stipulated course book.

There is an old saying that, “Reading is to mind what exercise is to body”. I have no doubt in saying that dying reading habit in our society is the main cause of the death of our nation’s morality. And this moral death of values can be easily witnessd among the Pakistani nation. Reading or reading a good book is a valuable source of knowledge. Reading allows us to learn about anciant culture and civilization, history, science and technology. Besides, we can learn by reading biographies of others, someone, important or successful. And thus it also allows us to learn from their mistakes and failure.

Adolf Hitler once said, “If you learn from your mistake, you are intelligent. But if you learn from somebody’s mistake, you are genius!”.

This is my personal belief and experience that books are our best companions. And sometimes books are more human than the people; they are always available when you need their company. Books or reading can be helpful in fostering a civilised society that is tolerent and open to self-examination. Through good books or reading habit we can convert our violent and perverse society into tolerent and peaceful.

But unfortunatly our reading habit is dying, and our addiction to social networking applications is reaching the maximum capacity. We are happy to waste hours in using these apps each day. These social apps could be used in a useful way, but unfortunately, in Pakistan, these apps are making us more rigid, even more than before. The issues we face from militancy, extremism, terrorism and the general rigidity of outlook have been decades in making, and the social and electronic media has added fuel to fire. These issues could be addressed by fostering reading habit from the childhood. Now, the question is how our society could encourage this habit?

Whether schools, colleges or universities, our examination system is text book focused. This problem discourage reading habit in the students from the very beginning. So, if we could amend our examination system: a system based on syllabys (detailed syllabus) and not the textbooks, it will it will require students to consult different relevant books. This is the basic and easy way to encourage reading habit at least in the students.

Books are the carriers of civilization. Without books, history is silent, literature dumb, science crippled, thought and speculation at a standstill. They are engines of change, windows on the world, lighthouses erected in a sea of time. (Babara Tuchman)

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