KOCHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said the reading and library movement witnessed by Kerala has to be spread to the entire country. After inaugurating the reading month celebration organised by the P N Panicker Foundation at St Teresa’s College, he said Kerala has been a torch-bearer and inspiration to the nation in the field of literacy and the focus on digital literacy is the need of the hour.
“I would like to see such a reading and library movement in the entire country. The movement should not be limited to making 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,” he said.
There can be no joy greater than reading and no strength greater than knowledge, he said. P N Panicker, who was the driving spirit behind the library movement in Kerala, did this through Kerala Grandhasala Sangham set up by him in 1945 with 47 rural libraries.
“I had started a similar movement named Vanche Gujarat (Gujarat Reads) when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. 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 villages. This could be started with 50 or 100 books. I also appealed to people to give a book instead of bouquet as a greeting. Such a move can make a big difference,” he said.
It is said one literate woman can educate two families and Kerala has set an example worthy of emulation in this regard, he said.
“I believe 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 the nation. It should spread the idea of peace along with respect for unity and integrity of the nation,” said Modi.
“I am happy to see the P N Panicker Foundation is now focusing on digital literacy. This is the need of the hour. I believe in people’s power. It has the capacity to make a better society and nation. I urge every young person in the audience to take a pledge of reading. And enable everyone to do so. Together, we can once again make India a land of wisdom and knowledge,” he said.
The Prime Minister lauded Kerala for enabling the first 100 per cent literate city and first 100 per cent literate district - Kottayam- and also for being the first state to attain 100 per cent primary education. Some of the oldest colleges, schools and libraries in the country are also in Kerala.
He said the Centre has provided support to the activities of the Foundation and a sum of Rs 1.20 crore has been given to the foundation.
Focus on Day of Reading
Reading and library movement to bring social and economic change
One literate woman can educate two families, Kerala an example
Spread idea of peace and respect for unity and integrity of the nation
Young people to take pledge of reading to make India a land of wisdom and knowledge