The reading habit has changed over the years with the rising trend of e-books and reading apps. The idea of choosing the silent corner of a well-lit room and flipping over the pages of your favourite book is a passé.
In a bid to revive the book reading habit, an eminent academician and former Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati University Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury has come up with a one-of-a-kind campaign to inspire the young minds.
Dr Choudhury, who was also the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Tezpur University (TU), has launched the ‘Let’s Read Books’ (Kitap Porhu Ahok) campaign in the state to inculcate reading habits among the young generation. “We need to increase book reading. It gives a rich experience, especially in this age of globalization, creating a knowledge society is very important,” he said while speaking to Time8.
“Reading hardcopy books are a different kind of pleasure. One can go deep into the matter which is somehow missing in e-books and web portals. When I was the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of TU in 2011, I sent an email to all the students that I will be standing in front of the Central Library. I became very disappointed when I saw very few students showing up. But at around 6 pm onwards, students started coming from all the directions. A total of 732 students turned up that and today, the varsity has a very good library culture,” he added.
As part of the campaign, four reading sessions were held in Guwahati. Dr Choudhury now aims to take this campaign across 33 districts of the state in order to benefit the children.
As a part of this initiative, Dr Choudhury in collaboration with a local socio-cultural organization Zebra Force kick-started the campaign from Mangaldoi district of Assam on September 14th, 2019.
At the end of the programme, Dr Choudhury led a group of children to the library and sat with them to read any book for half an hour. The children were greeted with a big round of applause as they came out of the library.
“Parents also should encourage their wards to read books. They should tell their children to avoid mobile phones and inculcate the habits of reading books. Because books are a man’s best friend,” he said.
Dr Choudhury enjoys reading scientific books. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez is his all-time favourite novel. “With my growing age, I have developed a different taste when it comes to reading books. My list of must-read books which I would also recommend youngsters include One, Two, Three…Infinity and Mr Tompkins in Wonderland by George Gamow.”
Additional inputs: Kishor Kalita
Photos: Time8 and Dr Amarjyoti Choudhury