Thiruvananthapuram

Nurturing appreciation of reading

Writer Jaishree Misra with students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

Writer Jaishree Misra with students of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.  

Writer Jaishree Misra interacts with KV students

Writer Jaishree Misra was 13 when she received her first bit of literary criticism. And it was from none other than a Jnanpith award winner, a celebrated Malayalam novelist who gifted the world Chemmeen, Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai.

A short story Ms. Misra wrote was published in the Deccan Herald, a clipping of which was sent to the writer, also her greatuncle or ‘Thakazhi Ammavan,’ as she fondly calls him. The writer promptly sent back a point-by-point analysis, picking out the descriptions he liked best and offering constructive criticism.

Having a literary giant in the family helped “take the mystique out of the writing,” she said to an audience of children at Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom. She was participating in a ‘Meet the Author’ programme on Tuesday organised in connection with World Book and Copyright Day, which falls on April 23. Though she lived in New Delhi as a child, she managed to get a glimpse of her uncle’s fascinating world, a proximity which eventually helped build her confidence to write a novel.

Reading in Net age

Ms. Misra dwelled long on the subject of reading and how the habit fares in the Internet age.

While the Internet is a wonderful thing in terms of opening up vaults of knowledge, she said what had declined was the quality of reading – “quick, pint-sized, abbreviated and turning into a new language altogether.” “People could soon forget to hold their attention,” she said. Within a piece of literature was a documentation of the human experience that helped you empathise and appreciate other people and cultures, the students were told.

She worked at the British Board of Film Classification, a position which furthered her understanding of censorship.

Ms. Misra had to go through films, some of which were ‘deeply dislikeable’ and were ‘breeding a sense of callousness’ in terms of the violence shown and that there needs to be a limit of what can freely distributed.

View on bans

But, not a singly book should be banned because a group or individual takes offence at it and wants to prevent everyone from reading it, a trend that’s disturbingly on the rise, she said, citing Wendy Doniger’s and Salman Rushdie’s works. “If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Don’t stop the rest of the world from making up their mind.”

Ms. Misra inaugurated a three-day book fair organised in collaboration with Scholastic Inc at KV. It is open from 7.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The KV Library also held an International Kids Book Cover Competition 2014, a UNESCO-supported venture, said librarian S.L. Faisal. To mark World Book Day, the school will conduct bookmark designing, book reviewing, and painting competitions, he added. Principal S. Neerada was present.

A letter from the Editor


Dear reader,

We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.

Support Quality Journalism
Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 9:40:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/nurturing-appreciation-of-reading/article5939944.ece

Next Story