By Vijay Phanshikar:
STOP a young person anywhere and ask him – or her – what book he – or she – is currently reading. In seven out of ten of these encounters, the person will look completely confused, not knowing what to say in response to such a sudden question on the trot. Many of us have encountered such a response from young people, although few of us have begun to think about how to combat this undesirable social trend – young people not finding reading to be a genuinely interesting activity. . Some young people find pleasure in reading, but their number is often very low. But then, we find members of a different tribe claiming that they read books online.
This should be no problem for anyone. Because when the young person uses technology to engage in reading, there should be no objection – generally speaking. However, researchers are beginning to question whether those who claim to read digitally are really sincere about this activity. For, in the spoken or written languages of these people, there is nothing remarkable to suggest that so-called digital reading has improved their intellectual processes and their linguistic skills. Some scholars the Big Thinker interacted with on a serious note said they came across a trend of digital reading contenders that they often tend to postpone the date with reading since the book is accessible to them. at your fingertips – – ‘just press, and you have the book spread out on your screen’. When the great thinker approached a few young people on this specific issue of the alleged habit of postponing reading time, most admitted, albeit rather reluctantly, that they had postponed reading because they were sure they could start it anytime. “Does this moment really come later?” Asked the great thinker.
And to that question, in most cases, the answer was only hesitation and restlessness – which said it all. This brings us to a major question – one that this column has raised countless times in the past: what happened to us to lose the culture of reading? There are of course many superficial answers to this poser – such as the easy availability of gadgets that distract children from serious reading activity; or, television that offers a greater dose of entertainment (regardless of its quality); or, curricular pressure; or, a non-serious dismissal as if asking what difference reading will make! Those who have thought carefully about the question of reading culture know that most of these answers have their antidotes as well. Yet society as a whole has not devoted its time and energy to thinking about possible solutions. It is grief.