Give a book instead of bouquet as greeting, says Modi

Kochi, June 17, 2017

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said people should give a book instead of a bouquet as greeting as the reading habit could make a great difference.
Speaking at the launch of P N Panicker Reading Day – Reading Month Celebration, Mr Modi said from the time of the Upanishads persons with knowledge have been respected through the ages. “We are now in the information age. Even today, knowledge is the best guiding light,” he added.
Saying that Kerala has been a torch-bearer and inspiration to the whole nation in the field of literacy, the Prime Minister noted that the first 100% literate city and the first 100% literate district have been this state.
Kerala was also the first state to attain 100% primary education. Some of the oldest colleges, schools and libraries of the country are also situated here.
“This could not have been achieved by the Government alone. Citizens and social organizations have played an active role in this remarkable achievement. Kerala has set an example in people’s participation in this regard. I admire the work of people like the late P N Panicker and his foundation. He was also the driving spirit behind the library network in Kerala. He did this through Kerala Granthasala Sangham set up by him in 1945 with 47 rural libraries,” Mr Modi said.
“I am told that as a pilot project of Digital Libraries, Panicker Foundation is working with 18 public libraries in the state in collaboration with Indian Public Library Movement, New Delhi,” he added.
“I would like to see such a reading and library movement in the entire country. The movement should not be limited to make people literate. It should try to achieve the real goal of bringing social and economic change. The foundation of good knowledge should be followed by a super-structure of a better society,” the Prime Minister said.
“Reading and knowledge should not be limited only to work-related aspects. It should help develop habits of social responsibility, service to the nation and service to humanity. It should cure the evils in society and nation. It should spread the idea of peace along with respect for unity and integrity of the nation,” Mr Modi said.
He said he had learnt that the P N Panicker Foundation together with a number of Government agencies, private sector entities and civil society organisations, was leading an initiative of reading with a target to reach 300 million under-privileged people by 2022. The main objective of this mission is to promote reading as a means to grow and prosper.
“Reading can help broaden one’s thinking. A well-read population will help India excel globally. With the same spirit, I had started a similar movement by name of Vanche Gujarat when I was Chief Minister of the State. It means Gujarat Reads. I had visited a public library to motivate people to read. The movement targeted the young generation, in particular. I also requested citizens to think about building a ‘Granth-Mandir’ - a temple of books - in their village. This could be started with 50 or 100 books,” Mr Modi said.
He said he was also happy to note that the State Government has announced June 19 as the reading day. Obviously, a lot of effort will converge to make this a popular activity, he added.

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