PESHAWAR: Speakers at a literary gathering here on Saturday called for promotion of education and reading habits among young generation, saying that the culture of violence and guns could only be countered through education and not through violence.
“Despite advancement of technology, including internet, the importance of books remains intact and time would prove that there is no substitute for books in the society,” said prominent writer and columnist Saadullah Jan Barq.
Delivering a lecture on “importance of books in the present age” here at the Research Library, Peshawar, the first private library aimed at inculcating the habit of research in the students, Mr Barq said that development in the west was because of the culture of books and education.
He said that the Muslim world was once known for this culture, but unfortunately they abandoned it later.
The literary session, chaired by prominent Pakhtun intellectual and chairman of World Pashto Conference, Saleem Raz, was also addressed by broadcaster and writer Hamdullah Jan Bismil, educationist Prof Nusrat Naseem, columnist and founder of the library Dr Fasihuddin, Ishaq Wardag, Iqbal Sikander, Shakeel Nayab, Syed Habib Sajid, Khadim Yousafzai, etc.
Mr Raz said that the present day writers and intellectuals had to abandon their approach of remaining impartial in war between the forces of darkness and light and that of evil and virtue.
He observed that writers often claimed to be impartial, but they had to play their role in reformation of the society for which they needed to become partial against the forces of evil.
Mr Raz said that the writers should be clear in their mind about what and for whom they were writing.
He said that the present day writers also had the problem of not identifying their readers and the purpose of writing.
He highlighted the importance of the research library, saying that such lectures would be arranged regularly.
He said that like the Khudai Khidmatgar movement, which had also focused on educating Pakhtun children, this library would be helpful for the students in conducting research.
Mr Barq stated that the importance of books could be judged from the fact that the teachings of prominent philosophers, writers and intellectuals who had passed away centuries ago were available to them in books.
He said that they had to promote reading habits among young generation and the culture of books which would ultimately help in defeating the forces of darkness.
Prof Naseem said that when Sir Syed Ahmad Khan had set up a library at Aligarh through donations, people were laughing at him as they did not believe that he would succeed in his mission.
However, she said that with passage of time that library was a great success. She said that the Research Library, Peshawar, would also prove to be a milestone in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as far as research work was considered.
Other speakers also lauded the setting up of the library by Dr Fasihuddin, saying that though by profession he was a police officer, there was a literary figure hidden inside him.
They said that it was now the responsibility of writers and civil society members to strive for the success of this library.
The writers said that they would now regularly conduct literary sessions and gatherings at the new library.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2014