THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: “Reading can help cure you of ego. The Malayali society’s super-inflated ego often does not allow it to imbibe the best of the changes taking place around the world. This results in the lack of a superior understanding, despite being a highly informed people,” said Speaker G Karthikeyan.
He was inaugurating the two-day national seminar on ‘Towards a new reading culture’ organised by the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation (RRRLF) at Kanakakkunnu Palace on April 20.
The Speaker added that the rising number of publishing houses and printed reading materials, including newspapers, magazines and journals, testifies to the fact that reading as a habit has not been cowed down by the advent of electronic media.
“But there is a need to streamline the activities of organisations such as the State Library Council. I remember that my village, which had no electricity until the late 1960s, had a well-furnished library much before that. But, even with more technological advancements, I doubt if there are good libraries functioning in rural areas of the State. Even if there are, libraries have ceased to become centres of intellectual and meaningful discussions. Whatever the medium of reading, I think there is a need for streamlined and selective reading so that the exercise is made meaningful and productive,” he said.
The Speaker also awarded a fellowship on behalf of the Foundation to former Vice-Chancellor, University of Kerala, G Balamohan Thampi. The honour is a representative gesture on the part of the State for upholding the affinity for books and the culture of reading, he said.
The Thiruvananthapuram chapter of the Kolkata-based foundation, established in 1961, also felicitated cultural leaders and litterateurs of the State on the occasion.
Authors Kavalam Narayana Panicker, Sugathakumari, K Satchidanandan, George Onakkoor, Lalitha Lenin, educationists N A Karim, C A Augustine, sculptor Kanayi Kanhiraman and education activist N Balagopal were honoured for their efforts to further the cause of the written word.
Director of RRRLF K K Banerjee and former ambassador and Kerala State Higher Education Council Vice-Chairman T P Sreenivasan also spoke on the occasion. The seminar will be held over the weekend at the Kanakakkunnu Palace.