Visitors at the 35th Chennai Book Fair on Sunday had more to go home with besides the books they bought at the event. Former President A.P. J. Abdul Kalam, in a speech, interspersed with couplets from Thirukkural, underscored the importance of cultivating and maintaining the habit of reading books everyday.

He recalled the time when he, as a 10 year old, used to frequent his brother's friend's house where he would delve into the magic of books.

“I read only two books of Karl Marx, starting with Das Capital. But after that, I have been reading all along,” he said, stressing on the fact that reading different books on various topics not only widened a person's thinking, but also helped him/her make better decisions in life. “It is equally important to celebrate and learn from failures in life, as it is to cherish success. Only books can give you the maturity to do that.”

Also, he opined that books needed to be taken to the most isolated areas and rural places in the country so that everybody benefits. Eminent thinkers and scientists have cited books as their inspiration to work, he said, recalling how mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan depended on books to grasp theorems and algorithms. “It is important that book reading is nurtured in every family. Books are no less than ancestral property,” Dr. Kalam said.

The Book Fair is being organised by the Book Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) at the St. George's Anglo-Indian Higher Secondary School. R.S. Shanmugam, president, BAPASI, S. Vairavan, secretary, BAPASI, industrialist Nalli Kuppusamy and Nagai Mugunthan participated in the function.

More In: Chennai