The magic and charm of words, the pleasures of reading which has led on many generations to the exquisite world of books, has somehow lost its hold on the present generation of youngsters. Books, which were once considered as ‘man’s best friend’, his ‘companion during troubled times’, have lost their importance in this so-called modernized, ‘cyber age’ world.
The habit of reading anything extra other than the school and college textbooks is a rarity among today’s youth. “Read books, when I don’t even have time to skip through my textbooks?” is the typical excuse that one hears today. Even for the working fraction of youth, time has become a scarce commodity. The exuberant world of Shakespeare‘s dramas, the romanticism of Wordsworth, Keats and Shelly or for that matter any form of literature, whether it is history novels, dramas, poetry or biographies, no longer attracts readers as it used to do in the past. One tends to wonder how our parents and ancestors who were not blessed with a fully automatic world, found time to read books and still continue to do so.
Gone are the days, when vacation meant innumerable visits to the library, to grab the best book available. The number of youngsters frequenting the libraries has not gone down, but the purpose has surely changed. Today it is the school or college assignments that makes them visit the libraries. Such sort of reading is also productive but it is usually done under stressful conditions, where more than the ‘mental involvement’, the sheer necessity of the task matters more. Such sort of reading is forgotten, as soon as the purpose is fulfilled.
The parents blame it all on the educational system which imposes an impossible workload upon the youngsters and parents of the working group blame it on the society. But the same parents also complain about the time that their child spends in front of the TV, computer, or the mobile or in partying. Amidst all this blaming, there is still a small percentage of youth who do find time to read for at least half an hour everyday. So rather than the ‘educational system’ or the ‘modernistation’, in reality it is the disinclination of the youth to apply their mind in proper direction which is responsible for the decline in readership.
Merely reading school or college books restricts proper development and inhibits our thought process. We tend to compartmentalize ourselves, within the sphere of our own subjects. Many of the youngsters who are into the habit of reading feel that it has given them a wider perspective, has enhanced their knowledge and has made them confident enough to take on any challenge. The youth shun away from extra reading but when it comes to competitive exams, we can find the lot of them trying to memorize everything under the sun at one stretch. But the regular readers sail on smoothly through these exams. Whether it is to enhance one’s language, mental ability or general knowledge reading is a must.
Reading is not a ‘destructive activity’ but a ‘constructive activity’. Cheap thrillers or some glossy film magazines don’t come in the group of ‘quality reading’. Reading should be of such a nature that it leads one from ‘ignorance to knowledge,’ from just ‘knowledge to excellence’.
It depends upon the parents to instill the habit of reading in their children. Parents should realise that society is not a stagnant unit but a constantly developing one where it is up to us to uphold the age-old values and customs and make sure that the present generation doesn’t lag behind.
The youngsters should realise that all the pleasures of chatting, partying or surfing the net are a mere ‘youth time indulgence’, whereas reading is a ‘lifetime investment’, one that will really help them in the long run.