A one-day book fair organised by the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology saw scores of students visit the various books stalls on Saturday. The event was held to promote the habit of book reading among the younger generation.
But despite a large crowd, students did not buy books as they claimed the same can be read over the internet. Book sellers were of the view that the internet is the new gateway of knowledge which is several times more convenient, and cheap, than hardcopies. “Today’s youth is not inclined towards reading books,” said a book seller.
The fair offered books on science, philosophy, medicine, history, culture, religion, literature and politics. Yet the stall holders barely made any sales. However, students were keen on buying Urdu literature books by renowned writers including Qudratullah Shahab, Sadat Hassan Manto, Bano Qudsiya, Amjad Islam Amjad, Attaul Haq Qasmi, Ashfaq Ahmed, Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi and Mumtaz Mufti .
Book sellers said the reason why Urdu novels are still popular is because this material is not easily available on the internet.
A representative of Saeed Book Bank, the capital’s biggest book store, said “It would not be correct to conclude that students are not interested in reading or the habit is dying. It is just that the internet has emerged as the quickest tool to seek knowledge”.
The highest number of books sold at the fair was novels, short stories and poetry collections.
Farhan Akhter, an MBA student, said “I find Urdu literature fabulous. It is interesting and informing and exposes me to a whole new world”.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2013.
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