In a first, a book fair was held in Matta tehsil that attracted hundreds of readers and book lovers on August 14 and 15.
Thousands of books on various subjects were sold at discounted prices. The fair was organised by the Swat Zeganda Academy in collaboration with the Swat Adabi Alwat to raise awareness about the importance of reading.
Chief organiser Shahzada Burhanuddin Hassrat said encouraging the love for books and knowledge was the primary aim of the fair. “The students of this area have suffered from extremism. Books were snatched and weapons handed to them,” he said. “Children in the area are in dire need of books.”
Among the visitors, Dr Amjad, a social activist, appreciated the activity and termed it a healthy initiative. “Once such activities start in our society, gun culture will automatically fade away. Love for books and education will move us towards moderation and development,” he claimed.
“We are very happy that at least somebody tried to hand books to our youngsters otherwise all they are exposed to is weapons and war,” said Gulzar Ahmad, a resident of Sherpalam.
Residents of Matta vowed to strive to earn a positive name for the area where people would choose books over guns. “This is the beginning and a new chain of educational and healthy activities will start here to prove to the world that we are not terrorists, but peace loving people,” said Rashid Ahmad, a resident of Bandai.
Visitors stressed government organisations and not only non-governmental organisations should organise similar activities in areas like Matta.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2013.
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