Book reading declining in Pakistan, Saira Iqbal

Interview Saira Iqbal; Poetess and Writer

Saira Iqbal, Islamabad based writer, poetess and Radio journalist

The culture of reading has been declining in Pakistan since long. According to me the contributing factor for this is that our youth is more prone to technology and books are not attracting readers anymore as they used to.

It gives me pain when the youths of the present ignore reading productive books which can be the building blocks of character, economy, society, politics and nation.

The reading habit has been a great help in developing knowledge. But today in an age when browsing the net, playing with mobiles and passing non-stop texting seem to be the order of the day, TV and films fill the minds of youth. We have to think about it seriously as to how the growing generation can find time to read. While technology is taking control steadily over individual lives, so the reading habit is fast vanishing into thin air.

However, research on funding problems of the Pakistani nation shows that the poor economy of the country, inflation, low priority on education and price increase of books are the main causes of the dilemma.

Furthermore, I believe when there is no peace at home, then how can a writer justify its literature and pay heed to it. I believe change in lifestyle is another reason for the decline.

Besides, it is tough and intense competition in seeking jobs which has led to further deepening the insecurity among middle-class families, discouraging the habit of reading books other than textbooks.

Moreover, book-market consumerism is the only scale that decides publishing of books. In order to sustain a strong reading culture among youths, misuse of net and technology should be banned.

It is important that parents of teenagers should not allow their children to use mobile phones.

In every village, town and city libraries should be set up by the government. At schools, colleges and universities, along with textbooks, some general books should be recommended and discussed.