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National Reading Day 2023: History, Significance & Other Details

National Reading Day 2023: History, Significance & Other Details

Written by Sanjay Kumar

In a digital age where screens dominate our lives, the importance of reading books cannot be overstated. Recognizing the significance of reading as a catalyst for knowledge, communication skills, and overall development, National Reading Day is observed on June 19th every year.

This special day pays tribute to PN Panicker, fondly known as the ‘Father of the Library Movement’ in Kerala, India, and his remarkable efforts to promote literacy. PN Panicker, who passed away on this day in 1995, played a pivotal role in transforming society through his literacy movement.

He founded the Sanadana Dharma Library, which served as the epicenter of the library movement in Kerala. Panicker’s visionary leadership sparked a cultural revolution that led to universal literacy in the state during the 1990s.

One of the highlights of National Reading Day is the observance of Vayana Varam, a week-long reading initiative organized by the Ministry of Education in Kerala. From June 19th to 25th, this reading week encourages individuals to immerse themselves in the world of books. Panicker’s legacy is also carried forward through the Kerala Association for Non-Formal Education and Development (KANFED), an organization he founded. KANFED has been instrumental in promoting literacy and raising awareness about education in rural areas.

The impact of Panicker’s movement on Kerala is evident in the state’s remarkable literacy rates, with Kerala consistently ranking among the highest in the country. His tireless efforts have cultivated a reading culture that encourages individuals to embrace the joys of reading and explore the vast wealth of knowledge contained within books.

PN Panicker’s journey began with the establishment of the Travancore Library Association, later known as the Kerala Granthshala Sangham (KGS). This association initially comprised 47 local libraries and aimed to promote education at the grassroots level. Following the formation of Kerala in 1956, the KGS network expanded exponentially, reaching an additional 6,000 libraries across the state. Under Panicker’s leadership, the KGS network garnered international recognition, receiving the prestigious UNESCO Krupsakaya Award in 1975.

On National Reading Day, let us take a moment to reflect on the immense contributions of PN Panicker and the transformative power of reading. It is a day to rekindle our love for books, indulge in the pleasure of reading, and appreciate the profound impact it has on our lives. As we celebrate this special occasion, may we be inspired to keep turning the pages, for within each book lies a world waiting to be discovered.

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