Concern over decline in reading habit among people

Books gave him a view of the whole world and through books he got an insight into the hearts and minds of the people, said veteran Telugu writer Kalipatnam Rama Rao.

Inaugurating the Vijayawada Book Festival along with Kannada writer A.R. Mitra at the Swaraj Maidan here on Sunday, Mr. Rama Rao said that the number of rich people in the world had increased but the number of happy people in the world diminished. This was mainly because of a decline in the reading habit.

Kalipatnam Rama Rao said that his life-long relationship with books began at the tender age of 10. He started reading after he came to Visakhapatnam and the library where he read was called the ‘Hindu Reading Room'. It was from here that he discovered the world of books. He ended his speech saying ‘pustakam parabrahma swaroopam' (books are a form of God).

Professor Mitra said that Telugu and Kannada were sisters and the daughters of ‘Bharathamatha'. He said the world was a poorer place today because the value of books had diminished and a very few had the reading habit.

‘Winged horses'

Comparing books with ‘winged horses', Prof. Mitra said that they help people's hearts to get closer, while the heads stop people from getting together. Crores of rupees were being spent on construction, but there was no room for libraries and books. Prof. Mitra spoke at length about the close relations between Telugu and Kannada writers had down the ages.

Vijayawada Book Festival Society president R. Ramaswamy said that from 84 stalls in the first book festival, the number of stalls in this exhibition had increased to 310. This was a testimony to the success of the exhibition.

Society secretary D. Ashok Kumar said that the organisation was running a library to promote the reading habit, but more land was needed to start a children's section. Treasurer Rama Kotaiah proposed a vote of thanks.