KOCHI: Giving a book instead of a bouquet as a greeting at functions can make a big difference and digital literacy is the need of the hour, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Speaking after inaugurating the ‘reading month’ celebration organised by the PN Panicker Foundation at St Teresa’s College, Ernakulam, on Saturday, PM said Kerala has been a torch-bearer and inspiration to the whole nation in the field of literacy.
“I had started a similar movement by name of Vanche Gujarat (Gujarat Reads) when I was Chief Minister of Gujarat. I had visited a public library to motivate people to read. The movement targeted the young generation, in particular. I also requested citizens to think about building a ‘Granth-Mandir’ – a temple of books – in their village. This could be started with 50 or 100 books. I also appealed to people to give a book instead of bouquet as a greeting. Such a move can make a big difference,” he said.
PN Panicker, who was the driving spirit behind the library movement in Kerala, did this through Kerala Grandhasala Sangham set up by him in 1945 with 47 rural libraries. “I would like to see such a reading and library movement in the entire country. The movement should not be limited to make people literate. It should try to achieve the real goal of bringing social and economic change. The foundation of good knowledge should be followed by a super-structure of a better society,” he said.
“I am happy to see that the PN Panicker Foundation is now focusing on digital literacy. This is the need of the hour.
I believe in people’s power. It has the capacity to make a better society and nation. I urge every young person in the audience to take a pledge of reading. And enable everyone to do so. Together, we can once again make India a land of wisdom and knowledge, he said.
It is said that one literate woman can educate two families and Kerala has set an example worthy of emulation in this regard, he said. “I believe that reading and knowledge should not be limited only to work related aspects. It should help to develop habits of social responsibility, service to the nation and service to humanity. It should cure the evils in society and nation. It should spread the idea of peace along with respect for unity and integrity of the nation,” he said.
He also lauded Kerala during his speech saying that the first 100 percent literate city and first 100 percent literate district have been from Kerala. Kerala was also the first state to attain 100 percent primary education. Some of the oldest colleges, schools and libraries of the country are also situated in Kerala. He also said that Centre has provided support to the activities of the Foundation and a sum of Rs 1.20 crore has been given to the foundation in the last two years.