By Saumya Sahni:
While sorting out the mess which I had made out of my bookshelf a couple of weeks ago, I decided to let go off all my books which I do not require anymore including some college books, some school textbooks and some newspaper clippings which I had maintained; rather I had preserved. Not only the college notes came pouring out which I had not bothered to refer throughout the two years of my undergraduate studies at college but also those cherished novels of mine which I have read a million times and still read if I feel low. Such is the joy of books. Never have they complained nor do they make demands. I still feel happy to possess them and go back to them whenever I desire.
Lately I have also been reading “eBooks” which I download from various websites. These include all genres of novels and other referring material. But whenever I sit down to read novels on my laptop, the going gets so arduous that I am never successful in completing the novel in one go! Yes, I fail to derive any pleasure while reading from online versions of books.
This age is the age where everything is available on the click of a mouse. Be it games, books, novels, music, long lost friends etc. You also get the online versions of the newspapers which you prefer to read in the form of ePapers. In my opinion, this is phenomenal for sure! But if you analyse the deeper aspect of this culture, books are dying and I mean it! I now hardly come across people who sit patiently and wait for the newspapers to arrive. Blame the speedy, accessible anywhere/anytime digital culture, the culture of reading books is dying a slow death.
As kids, we used to refer many nice books while writing our assignments or answers for the exams. Children today ‘Google’ answers or owe their massive write-ups to Wikipedia. Albeit, internet is a powerful medium to voice opinions or increase your knowledge base, but it being a replacement to books is “blasphemous”. It is extremely painful to see the public libraries in New Delhi vacant and the books gathering dust lying there. Not only this, college libraries are also being less frequented these days by students since everything be it reliable or non-reliable can be accessed within no time via internet. So for them, it is unnecessary wastage of their time to visit the library.
Gone are the days, when people used to sit for hours in the library collecting information from different sources. The librarian too feels depressed as he misses those days when he used to issue strict verbal warnings to the visitors to maintain silence in the sacred place. Today also the scenario hasn’t changed much as yes there is silence in the library. But this silence is eerie as the librarian finds no one to hush.
I find some really grave issues with the invasion of digital culture into the world of books. Firstly, reading a book enhances the vocabulary to a great extent. The language which is used in the content of the websites is largely informal and too easy in order to appeal to everybody’s understandings. It doesn’t add much to someone’s language base. Secondly due to the presence of multiple sources of information on a topic, the views may vary on a topic which might lead to multiplicity of opinions. The information contained on these sites may or may not be true always. Hence, it is not fully reliable. One can choose to edit the Wikipedia articles as one likes. Then, once people develop a habit of looking over the internet for everything, it leads to poor development of intellect as their brains are not put to exercises. People know that will be spoon-fed by the internet, thus, they themselves stop believing in putting efforts. Lastly, plagiarism is an issue which is simply rotting the whole essence of creativity. Articles on the websites are strikingly similar with similar pictures over different websites on a same topic. Copy and paste this particular line from this website and your assignment is ready. Originality in this case then goes down the drain.
Books are still a man’s best company. Don’t ignore this friend as thou will never find someone as meaningful as a book. No complaints No Demands!