Books can help gauge the attitude of human beings, Su.Venkatesan, Sahitya Akademi award winner, said here on Friday.
Inaugurating the 10-day book fair at the municipal grounds here, he said all that a scan could detect and identify is only the bodily ailments. But it is not possible to know what one thinks, if he is happy, sad or angry, whether he is afraid or is prepared to face problems.
For that, books could act as a barometer.
He cited former Iraq president Saddam Hussein as the telling example. When he was subjected to serious interrogation during the trial, he never gave out even a single word. In order to know his frame of mind, the interrogator told Saddam that he could read any book that he wanted. Then the latter started reading “Old Man and the Sea”.
The book speaks of the moral courage and the fighting spirit of an old man. This revealed to the interrogator that Saddam could not be easily cowed down despite his long period of incarceration . His courage remained undiminished.
District Collector Darez Ahmed, presiding, said books reveal the author’s experiences and how he looks at them. “More you read more you come across such experiences. As a human being we are just cogs in the wheel and it would be impossible for us to know much about others. And books provide you the opportunity to know more about life.”
He pointed out that as the last book fair had to be organised hurriedly, only 53 stalls could be set up. This year 104 stalls, displaying more than five lakh titles, have been set up.
Gnanalaya Krishnamurthy wanted the book lovers to buy the first print of Tamil books. He urged them to have a separate room at home for books.
Those who took part included writers Manushyaputhran and Nellai Jayantha, publisher R.S.Shanmugham, District Superintendent of Police T.K.Rajasekaran and District Revenue Officer M.A..Subramanian.