Is Reading Dying or Flourishing in the Internet Age? It’s a popular saying that a room without books is like a body without a soul. But unfortunately from last few years, it is a sad reflection that the culture of reading has also persistently been declining in not only in Pakistan but all around the world. As a result, we are growing more intolerant and biased in our social behaviours which is also indicative of our intellectual decay.
The strength of people in libraries is getting decreased with every passing day. The young people find it boring or a backward thing to consume even a small amount of their time in book reading.
Before making any argument in support of my opinion let me ask a question that, what is a book? Do you think it’s just a bundle of pages to pass time? The answer is a big NO from my side. Books are the best companions, it is a world, an adventure, journey and it has powers to change our perception, habits, behaviour, way of living any many more. The words in books are not useless, every word could be taught us the real meaning of many unexplored things.
There was a time when bookselling was considered as a profitable business in Pakistan and people were in the habit of reading for recreation and pleasure across the country. But nowadays, the booksellers find alternative businesses to earn for their livelihood. The reading progress of the country can be gauged from the number of copies of books brought out in the market.
Books were not only part of every household but they were discussed in social gatherings too. Lamentably, the circle of book buyers is now reduced to a limited one, as books are not something fascinating for the people anymore. Nowadays people prefer roaming through shopping malls rather than visiting bookshops.
The dying culture of book reading
Just a few years ago, reading culture was on rising in the society and books were regarded as the source of knowledge for developing verbal abilities, improving concentration, enhancing imagination, boosting entertainment and reducing stress.
But with the advancement in technology, social media giants have engulfed our generation completely and reading habits have faded away even among the highly educated. According to different surveys, Pakistani students are not interested in reading books from other than their academic courses and it is an alarming situation. If you want to see the difference between readers and non-readers, you should observe their habits, behaviour, way of talking and their manners. You will get my point very clearly why I am writing to encourage people to book reading.
No doubt reading can play a vital role in character building as it opens up a world of knowledge and is crucial for lifelong learning. However, it seems that reading a book in a library has become an archaic idea, in this age of the internet.
No doubt, technology has developed society in different ways, but it is simultaneously taking away the charm of life which we grew up with. If not encouraged, reading books would become a habit of the older generation only. In order to sustain a strong reading culture among children, we must stop misusing technology.
One of the most important flaws which have been developed in our society is the lack of public libraries. Have you ever noticed that during the 90s, there were many public libraries and bookshops in major cities of the country? But now, most libraries have been closed due to people’s lack of interest as people resort to social or electronic media, hardly any bookshops survive.
Students mostly resort to a cursory reading of the text on social media as they remain obsessed with the idea of ‘sharing’ material online. As an avid reader, reading off a screen strains my eyes, even if it is a short novella, but I can read the hard copy of books for hours.
It is the habit of reading books that have instilled tolerance and respect for diverging opinions in me — which is desperately needed for the youngsters to combat extremist worldviews.
Why Is Reading Important?
- Sharpens your mind
- Cognitive Mental Stimulation And Brain Exercising
- Vocabulary And Knowledge Expansion
- Lower Levels Of Stress And Tension Relief
- Helps With Depression And Dysthymia
- Memory Improvement And Better Focus
- Strengthens Your Writing Abilities
- Enhances Your Imagination And Empathy
- Boosts Your Sleep
- Enjoy Your Entertainment And Peace
- Helps You To Broaden Your Mind
Factors of Reading Dying Trend
There are several reasons behind this regrettable situation as many people believe that declining culture of reading is caused by the growing influence of electronic and social media as the people are fully inclined towards modern tools and they have forsaken the pleasures of reading.
Another documented fact that digital revolution with its TV, cinema and digital media platform resulted in the downfall of reading culture.
Personally, I believe that the root causes lie in our education system as we never bothered to reevaluate and reform our education policy as per international standard. In our school, colleges and universities our teaching strategies are completely exam-oriented and ultimately we are producing cramming machines.
In our academic institutions, reading culture is only limited to course books and regrettably, our teachers don’t incite and kindle students’ vision, imagination and ideas. It is also a harsh reality that we never put sincere effort to support and flourish creativity, originality and inventiveness.
To revive the fading reading culture what we immediately need is to inculcate the love for books in our children to lay the foundation of a book-reading society. Besides, an extended network of public libraries and readers clubs can rejuvenate this habit. Students should be encouraged to adopt the culture.
Likewise, instituting book fairs, reading festivals and literary galas on a regular basis would yield us the desired result. Moreover, a media campaign can also play a vital role in rescuing this tattering culture.
Keeping in view the effectiveness of its message, it can safely be assumed that the electronic media can serve as a catalyst. Ironically, it broadcasts a wide range of programmes for diverse nature of viewers, ranging from fashion-conscious people to food lovers but lamentably offers nothing to satisfy the appetite of bibliophiles.