The appeal of a book

Decades ago, the famous Urdu poet and justice Anand Narain Mulla suggested that the inmates of all the prisons in India must be exposed to reading to curb the violent streak in them. Got to say, a very sagacious and far-sighted suggestion. Psychologists and sociologists have also found that reading dilutes our violent inclinations and intentions. Books also help us retain our sanity in extreme solitude.

French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte retained his mental equilibrium at St Helena as he spent time reading books. Nelson Mandela told his biographer that he remained sane because he had the company of books at Robben Island where he was incarcerated for 27 long years.

Adolf Hitler didn’t read a single book in his entire lifetime. Italian autocrat Benito Mussolini hated newspapers and books. Stalin considered reading to be an idler’s pastime. If only these people did read, the story and history of the modern world would have been different. Books have a humanising influence on the reader. Urdu poet Ravish Siddiqi aptly said, ‘Kitabein sabaq sikhati hain, khamoshi aur pyar se/ Haath mein un ke chhadi hoti nahin kabhi’ – books teach lessons, albeit silently and lovingly without ever brandishing a cane. Books are our silent, affable and non-interfering companions. Though reading habit is fast on the wane, due to social media, those who genuinely love books will continue to read and ponder.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.