Those who read grow and become what they read
Thursday, 25 May 2023 | By Dr. BKS Sanjay
Dr BKS Sanjay
British philosopher and prolific writer Roger Scruton once said, “Stress presents with different feelings in different people and a book can reduce them.” A study revealed that only 30 minutes of reading a book can reduce your blood pressure, heart rate, psychological stress and pain. It also ascertained that book reading is as beneficial as Yoga, reading a comic book or laughing. Physicians based in Mayo Clinic, USA also advise people to regularly read a printed book before sleeping to avoid computer and mobile screen reading.
It is better to read a preferred book but children should be supervised while reading. Parents should set the example of book reading for their children to increase their knowledge and skills. Books are the simplest, cheapest, easiest and permanent means to learning. We believe that those who read grow and become what they read.
The habit of reading books is not a new one but one imbibed from childhood. Those who didn’t become habituated to reading during childhood generally struggle to reach greater heights in their careers. In our opinion, instead of just reading books we should try to read good books.
Our ancestors had realised the importance of books in development of society, for gaining and transmitting knowledge from one generation to the next. Our epic scriptures like Ramayana, Geeta, Guru Granth and others have played an important role in developing the character and culture of our society. There were multitudes of libraries across the country in the past. The grand libraries of Nalanda and Takshila are examples of such rich libraries which were unfortunately destroyed by invaders in the past. Thye Nalanda university library was the grandest in the world at that time which was built in the 5th century. The library building had nine floors, 2,000 teachers and 10,000 students from across the world.
BR Ambedkar said that cultivation of the mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence. Writers die but their books remain immortal. When we read a book, it seems that we are having a personal connection with the author and this feeling is what makes the authors immortal.
Our thought is the primary source of all actions. Books play an important role in transforming society. We believe if there is a need to bring change in the individual, society and our country then there is a need to change the thoughts. It is written in our scriptures that “Vicharh Param Gyanam, Gyanam Param Balam” -which means that thought is the ultimate knowledge and knowledge is the greatest power. Ambedkar had said that just as a plant needs water, an idea needs propagation or else both die. Books are a good, cheap and permanent medium for propagation of any idea.
The importance of education and books was understood by many of our wise men, politicians and enlightened people. Ambedkar understood the importance of education and gave it due importance in the framework of the constitution. Going further, the habit of sharing books makes one a medium of sharing knowledge. Cultivate the habit of buying, reading, distributing and gifting books so that you inspire others to do the same. Gifting a book costing a few hundred rupees can bring a big change in some person’s life. Based on our experience, we believe that books are better friends than individuals.
(A recipient of Padmashree, the author is Dehradun based orthopaedic surgeon. Views expressed are personal)