ISLAMABAD, April 24: Speakers on Thursday urged the government to take steps for the promotion of book culture in the country, which they noted was the key indicator of an intellectually developed civilized society.

Participating in a special discussion held to mark the World Book and Copy Right Day they said Islam’s glory was not linked to military might but to the power of ideas, learning and knowledge.

The theme of the discussion was “book culture:Need of the Hour”.

Prof Fateh Mohammad Malik, Chairman National Language Authority, in his presidential address said that books were not easily accessible for common readers. He said books were usually very costly and thus out of the reach of common person’s budget. Writers also do not get enough payment for their works and are made prey to the exploitation of publishers.

Aftab Iqbal Shamim and Dr Ehsaan Akbar were the guests of honour. Iftikhar Arif, Chairman Pakistan Academy of Letters, Prof Jaleel Aali, Ali Muhammad Farshi, Mohammad Hameed Shahid, Akhtar Usman, Dr Salahuddin Dervaish, Qasim Yaqoob and Raazia Shamshair expressed their views.

Aftab Iqbal Shamim said book was major source of inspiration and learning for human society. Book culture cannot be promoted if society’s other sections like culture, politics, environment, etc., are not in good condition.

Dr Ehsaan Akbar said that book reading was an attitude which can be started developing in childhood. The only way to promote book culture is to make common man’s access to all kinds of books easy.

Iftikhar Arif was of the view that no society can be considered civilized if it does not have any association and link with book.

He said that Muslim society always gave special significance to books and made them criteria to assess any person’s dignity and worth in the society.

Prof Jaleel Aali said that the problem with their society was that quality education had been limited to a particular section of the society. It is the need of the hour that book culture should be promoted in rural areas.

Ali Mohammad Farshi gave another view and said that it was the responsibility of writer to produce quality literature. He was of the view that good literature attracted reader.

Hameed Shahid raised the question whether IT revolution is a source of information or knowledge. Akhtar Usman said that the fall of book culture was a sign of any human society’s decline. More and more libraries needed to be developed in both rural and urban areas.

Dr Salahuddin Dervaish lamented that it was very sad to see that people seem to be no more interested in books and have lost their curiosity and interest as readers.

Qasim Yaqoob said that book culture was the part of any society’s cultural activity.

Razia Shamshair drew attention of the participants to the fact that book always demanded special attention from readers. Once reader fulfils this requirement book starts revealing itself and the process of change begins.

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