How many of us love watching a movie?
The breathtaking locations, an array of characters, the story and how it develops…
Well guess what?
Books are TV for smart people!
Books can be thrilling, mysterious, tragic, romantic, humorous, wise and/ or funny. They can be the voice that guides us through life. They can be our ticket to travel through Europe, take us back in time to meet the Romans, introduce us to an alternate universe, make us experience the adrenalin pumping sport of river rafting or let us witness the journey of a prince living in the lap of luxury turn into an enlightened monk everybody calls Buddha. Books give wings to our imagination, food to our thoughts and catharsis to our emotions.
They are the light by which our ignorance is dispelled – one book at a time.
History is witness to the fact that great leaders have always been great readers.
American philosopher Henry David Thoreau was once imprisoned for refusing to pay his poll tax as he did not support the Mexican-American war.
The next morning after being released from jail, he wrote a powerful essay “Civil Disobedience”. which eloquently explained why it is necessary to disobey a law when the law is unjust.
Sixty years later, Gandhiji – a lawyer practicing in Africa was imprisoned for non violent protest against unjust laws.
There, he read Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” and was greatly inspired by it. The result..Gandhiji dedicated his entire life to non violence and civil disobedience for social change and won India independence from the British rule.
Back in America in 1948, Martin Luther King Jr. began his own nonviolent fight against American government for equal rights and opportunities for African-Americans.
Where did King find his inspiration? In the Bible, Thoreau’s essay on Civil Disobedience and the ideas and example of Mahatma Gandhi.
How did all these leaders -worlds and decades apart, inspire one another?
Yes, books were instrumental in connecting these great leaders across time and geographical boundaries in making history.
It is as Carl Sagan says, “To read is to voyage through time.” It is to have a conversation with the finest people. One day you can have a conversation with Socrates, the next day with Edison. The day after that with Nelson Mandela. Their life experiences, trials and triumphs enrich our understanding of life and broaden our horizons.
If not for books, I would never have read the story of a 15 year old Pakistani girl who was shot at by the Taliban for her activism for female education.
Thanks to the book “I Am Malala”, I value my right to education today.
Reading sharpens our mind, improves our vocabulary, makes us more empathetic and boosts the feelings of gratitude within us. Reading gives us a place to go, an adventure to undertake from the comfort of our home. J. K. Rowling the author of the famous Harry Potter series says, “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book yet!”
Come, let us open a book..it may open a world of possibilities for us. Let us remember, “The world belongs to those who read!”