DailyPost 2664

Has the onset of the information age led to increased number of readers or an improvement in the quality of readership? That should have been the case, if we go by the number and quality of reading material available in the market and a large part of it being available for free, at the click of the mouse. Leaving aside transitory / momentary information, available anytime, anywhere, in the Google style, have we considerably improved our knowledge on anything. Reading provides us the capability to create our knowledge canvas, be known for it and use it for a variety of purposes.

There is no denying the fact that with the exponential increase in the digital knowledge, there has been a marked decline in reading. The capability of analyze, but for it provided readymade, capability to create your own narrative or in simple terms charter your own knowledge way, has been on the decline. The reading of non-fiction books has been low earlier as well, now the decline is devastating. At times even the text books are given a go by and PPTs rule the roost. Offhand knowledge is on the decline and documentation is abhorred. “Somehow express” is the order of the day, which emanates from the habit of “somehow read.”

This is in a scenario when there are more and more writers. The urge is to write, igniting many, to make a mark in life, escape into the intellectual trajectory or claim to be a part of the elite club. The tools to write and publish have become cheap and very easily available. There was a time, we waited for a book to be published, and there were few and far between. A writer was known person in his area of influence and good writers’ products made waves and kept on doing so for many years. The book sale today is abysmal so to say, given the increase in purchasing power, its availability and even the need to assimilate the ever-transformative knowledge.

Books apart lots of other writing by way of articles, research papers, doctoral / post-doctoral thesis and well conducted surveys, with relevant insights, also keep on hitting the market. Some of it churned out because of the mandatory requirements of UGE, AICTE et al, for career progression requirements. Where are the readers of the humungous quantum of that supposedly academic material? Even the students and junior colleagues don’t read, then who else will read. Academic decorative pieces, to be precise. The whole ecosystem dissuades reading, but everyone wants to be a writer, to gloss their CVs / reputation and be known as researchers, writers, an authority in his field, and finally an intellectual.

Sanjay Sahay

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