Concerned about the dwindling reading habits among school students, who prefer social networking sites and gadgets such as mobile phones and tablets to books, the state school education department unveiled ‘Granth Mahotsav’ at A B Goregaonkar School, Goregaon.
Marathi literary giant Sadanand More and well-known novelist Sudha Arora inaugurated the three-day book fair on Tuesday. “Students now love to read books on their iPads, tablets and computers, rather than paperbacks. They are unknowingly robbing themselves of the real joy of reading. Granth Mahotsav is a great initiative,” More said.
Pratibha Salian, deputy education inspector of west zone, said, “We at the education department are deeply concerned over the apathy of students towards reading. To address this, the education department has started organising book exhibitions across 35 districts in the state. This Granth Mahotsav is part of the district-level fair. However, we did not confine this event to just a book fair, but made it more interactive. Over 300 students participated in the event and many of them read out poems written by them. We also had a workshop on developing writing skills.”
Farhana Syed Ashraf, English lecturer at Thakur Vidya Mandir and Junior College in Kandivali, said there was an urgent need to develop and strengthen reading habit among students. “It is essential to inculcate good reading habit among students. Unless they read, their thinking process will not activate. Social networking and messaging sites have hampered the reading and writing skills of students to a large extent. Hence, we must all bring these students back to books. The Granth Mahotsav is a good step in that direction,” she said.
Vidya S, another teacher from a municipal school in Goregaon, said the idea was to restore the culture of buying and borrowing books and reading. “Stalls were set up at the venue where well-known publishing houses from the state exhibited their publications. We are happy to see students and other readers respond in good numbers. These students were attracted because the event involved litterateurs, schools and literary organisations in this exercise,” she said.