Reading is and always has been an important factor of our life to make it more than ordinary. This culture starts from the age of the 2nd century when the first book ‘the Diamond Sutra’ was written. Back then people had a great excitement for reading books but due to lack of technology, only royals could afford a manuscript of a book to read. With the passage of time and development in technology, printers were invented which made it easy to afford books even for the middle class peoples. English literature got a huge uprise in the time period of 16th Century to Early 17th Century also known as the golden era of English literature. We got the finest works from the best writers of English literature in this era, for example: Benjamin Jonson, William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh etc.
Unexpectedly this culture is getting very deprived from the second decade of the 21st century due to certain reasons which have a great influence over it.Social media is the biggest factor influencing our reading culture. The youth is getting distracted from books and other sources of reading such as newspapers and magazines. This generation prefers watching a Netflix series of the same novel kept in the library of their city or school because they think it weird to turn pages and understand the narrator rather than watching it on a full screen .This has a great impact on our imagination power as people who read books go through 200-300 pages while not even having a look at any of the character so they start developing an imaginary character for every role of the story and hence they carry a world of their own in their heads while as a person who watched the series of the same novel have a proper image of each character so he/she don’t have to imagine it . Also It is very rare to witness someone reading a book in vacations as they prefer scrolling social media and other things rather than reading a book.
Demotivation is also a great cause for this downfall. It’s my personal experience that before starting a book I turn to the last page of the book to see the number of pages it has. Most of the people get demotivated by the thickness of the book and still if they read the book, they read it like a burden and in between they never enjoy the work of the writer. Most commonly people like those never read again because they think it is very queer to spend their free time completing books and getting no fun from it.There is a difference between buying and reading books. People have collections of books kept in their house like collections of paintings on wall which they never read because of other distractions they face and also their lack of interest in reading.People nowadays are stuck to very few genres of literature such as romanticism, science fiction , fiction, thriller etc. And they only read books within the borders of these genres while there are many other genres to explore.
This downfall of reading leads to the downfall of the society and the mindset of youngsters is limited due to which they lack the power of imagination and expressing things in beautiful manner like poets used to do. if it continues like this, we may not see many writers and poets in our future and ultimately the beauty of imaginations and then penning them down would come to an end.Aristotle said “To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man.” And what shall I write if all the common people are expressing themselves only through social media posts but not through writings.
– The author, a known literary figure from frontier district Kupwara, can be reached at Checkonfaisal@gmail.com