By: Lailuma Noori
The last week of the month of Saur (14 – 21 May) has been named as the Week of Book in Afghanistan. The week is marked across the country by holding exhibitions and releasing various messages regarding book and book-reading by cultural associations.
There are lots of words to say for marking the Week of Book. Knowledgeable figures and scientists have said much about the importance, value and high position of book in culture, civilization and history of human in the world. Cultural and literal figures’ valuableness can be judged from their books.
Fortunately, in the rich culture and civilization’s zone in which Afghanistan depends, from Ariana, Khurasan till today, praising the book and honoring its position has particular position as book is an instructor that can train us without stick and whipped.
It is good to bring one of sayings of Maxim Gorky, who has said: “Everything which is good in me should be credited to books.” In this saying we know that how much book and book-reading has role in overall development of a society.
History of book in Afghanistan: If we review the modern history of Afghanistan, we understand that book has seen ups and downs during the past history of Afghanistan as various governments of Afghanistan engraved contradictory examples of book-loving in history books. For example, Ahmad Shah Abdali was interested in poems and literature of the Persian language as his son and daughter Timor Shah and Ayesha Durani from (1772 – 1793) were both poets, showing that he was interested in reading books.
In middle of the government of King Zahir and decade of democracy, there was better freedom in the field of thought and culture as cultural associations and collections were created and writers as Mir Ghulam Mohammad Ghubar, Abdul Hai Habibi and Ahmad Ali Kuhzad wrote their best books and published them during the respective era.
Current situation of book and book-reading in Afghanistan: most of parliament members, politicians and government officials unlike other countries of the world are far from pen, writing and reading books as they do not have subscription in national and international magazines and journals. Pale presence of Afghanistan politicians in this sector can be catastrophic. Unfortunately, universities and university lecturers who should be symbol of book-reading and writing books have not been able to promote the culture of book-reading among students and ordinary people of the country.
According to the country’s knowledgeable figures, it is necessary that the following points should be taken serious for promotion of book and book-reading in the country:
1. The ministry of information and culture should prepare public libraries development strategy as well as allocate necessary budget in its annual budget to develop public libraries and provide new books.
2. Ministry of higher education, government and private universities should encourage youth and students to further read and write books and provide initiative programs to promote the culture of book-reading among students in universities’ campuses.
Meanwhile, parents can play key role in encouraging their children to read books. There should be a small library for children in each house and parents should provide this opportunity for their children.
Besides, media has also responsibility in this regard. They can broadcast and publish particular programs for the promotion of book-reading and encourage the new generation to read and write.