UNESCO-sponsored World Book Day (April 23) every year implies promoting the importance of reading. Books are one medium of reading, and so are the other printed sources like newspapers and magazines.
But lately, there has been a remarkable shift from the traditional reading channels. Reading printed books or magazines can be a nostalgic pleasure. Most of the information, knowledge, or wisdom we receive on a day-to-day basis is through the internet.
The convenience of reading from the internet and its economics and speed we receive what we study far exceed the indulgence through the medium of books.
For that reason, observing World Book Day does not confine itself to reading books only; after all, the fundamental objective is the concept of reading.
But reading involves more than reading.
Alphabets structure it to create words and sentences to fill a page either in printed format or on the computer screen.
Perceptions and observations are readings too.
“The wise man reads both books and life itself”: Chinese novelist and philosopher Lin Yutang (1895 1976).
Buddha, Nanak, Kabir and Bulle Shah acquired their knowledge and wisdom more through their readings of life and environment around them than studying the scriptures and other volumes of their times.
The significance of reading the nature of life begins with the study of self. Bulle Shah says: “Parh parh Alam te faazil hoya, Te kaday apnay aap nu parhya ee na.” Translation: “You read to become all knowledgeable, but you never read yourself.”
Good reading deserves sharing when it delves into writing; these are complementary to each other. According to contemporary author Pam Allyn: “Reading is like breathing in, writing is like breathing out.”
By Promod Puri