By Raj Paneken

Not only I, but I think all the bookworms will be hundred percent agreeable with what J.P Lenoir said recently in an interview in a daily. A book is a book and nothing will replace a book. The pleasure and sensation of relishing a book is beyond compare. A book in your hand is palpable pleasure. You are savouring the pleasure of literature like a well-prepared dish. But unfortunately with the advent of new technologies like smart phone and computer «c’est la lecture qui en a fait les frais. Aujourd’hui la lecture est tombée à son niveau le plus bas,» especially among the school population where the students have developed an aversion for reading since they have other fish to fry. «Et pourtant ils sont condamnés à lire,» if they want to fare well at language level.

If today we are churning out quantity at the expense of quality at language level, it is because of an acute lack of reading on the part of our school population. With a sketchy vocabulary, the most they can do is to snatch a mere pass 7/8 at SC out of the jaws of failure. Today our students have become allergic to reading and dictionary work. They just do their homework because they have no alternative, then they turn to their distractions at the expense of reading. Without reading there is no vocabulary, and in the absence of a wide and varied vocabulary, there is no expression and comprehension. «Ils ont toutes les peines du monde à mettre leurs idées sur papier.» They cannot express themselves nor can they take in what they read.

La Librairie Le Trèfle

When the first library of the island Le Trèfle situated in Port-Louis closed its doors in 2008, one could read on the pulled down shutters «La lecture se meurt!» There was another one «sa sœur jumelle» in Arcades Currimjee at Curepipe which was struggling for its survival but the new technologies have been more than a match to the library. It had been compelled «de mettre la clé sous le paillasson» a few weeks ago because of a dwindling in the number of readers― «La lecture se meurt une seconde fois! Et Jean-Pierre Lenoir d’ajouter «une librairie qui disparait est comme une étoile qui s’éteint dans le ciel de la culture.» Today the old business of booksellers has to bow to the inevitable and give in to the demands of that society «qui plonge lentement mais sûrement dans une hébétude mentale sans précédent» according to J.P Lenoir.

With the closing down of the library Le Trèfle at Curepipe, it is definitely another nail in the coffin of reading. The culture of reading is dying slowly but inexorably among the new generation who have lamentably failed to grasp the importance and beauty of literature. They have no time or they don’t want to find the time to read, so they turn to facility at the risk of paying a heavy price for it. Those who have been trying to short-circuit reading by turning to new technologies have paid a heavy price at language level. With a sketchy vocabulary, their power of comprehension and expression is lamentably low. A successful written and spoken work exacts an intelligent reading on the part of the students. Those who want to succeed at language level are doomed to read, unless there is a complacent attitude on their part― «Français je conne, Anglais je me débrouille»

«Un livre est un outil irremplaçable» The new technologies will never replace a book. Literature is life. It is unimaginable to think of a world without book, unless we prefer existence to life. If we want to live a fuller life emotionally and intellectually, we need reading― books, media, magazines, etc. Any author who is wiser, wittier and more loveable than yourself will add to your stock of knowledge, wisdom, wit and love provided that you read with an open mind.

Reading builds up your personality and makes you an exact man. It broadens your circle of friends and increases your range of emotions and ideas. It is an evasion from the tedium and routine of life. You get other people’s points of view to increase your own knowledge, thus you outgrow your own opinions.

Let us end up by saying that reading is the basis of a child’s education and the enhancement of man. It is the very source of knowledge which lifts man from the plane of pure animalism to socialism.