GUWAHATI, Nov 1 - Making a strong pitch for extensive use and promotion of mother tongue, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today inaugurated the 21st North East Book Fair at the AEI field at Chandmari.
Naidu, who started his speech in Assamese, said he was not against any other language but paramount importance should be given to one�s own mother tongue. He also said that the state governments must lay adequate emphasis on practising and promoting their own languages.
�Mother tongue is like our eyesight and other languages are like spectacles that improve the vision. Book reading, on the other hand, makes us farsighted, widening our horizon,� he stated.
Stressing the need for strengthening the library movement, the Vice President said there should be at least one library in every village. Referring to the rhyming terms of �granthalaya, devalaya and sevalya� he laid stress on having libraries, prayer hall as per one�s faith, and community centres to help underprivileged sections of people.
Lauding the efforts of the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association, the organisers of the fest, for their consistent effort to promote the book reading habit among the common people, specially youngsters, a candid Naidu said that though he was told that protocol-wise it was a small event for the Vice President, he gave his consent due to the cause associated with it, and also to visit the naturally and culturally rich Assam.
While speaking about the abrogation of Article 370, Naidu said that Kashmir was an internal matter of India and no interference on this matter was acceptable.
�Both the Houses of the Parliament overwhelmingly supported the move. It eliminated the difference between the people of the same country,� Naidu said. He made the comment in the context of the National Unity Day, which was observed yesterday.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor of Assam, Prof Jagdish Mukhi said that since its inception, the North East Book Fair has earned a distinction as �people�s book fair� because of the spontaneous response of common people towards it. He asserted that despite the spurt in new digital technologies, the printed books will continue to guide generations after generations and its future is not bleak.
In the same function, the Vaishnavite Pandit Shashi Chandra Barbaruah Award was conferred on the chairman of the Sadin-Pratidin Group Jayanta Baruah for his contributions towards publishing and popularising Vaishnavite literature.
The award, instituted by the Asam Sahitya Sabha, was presented to him by the Vice President.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, in his speech during the inaugural event, said students must be encouraged to derive maximum benefits from their school and college libraries. �Apart from the books of respective streams, students must also be encouraged to read other books that would expand their knowledge base. Teachers can play a major role in that,� he added.
State Education Minister Siddhartha Bhattacharya also said that the charm of book reading can never be replaced by any digital technology.
Earlier, during the welcome speech, president of the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association Imran Ahmed urged the State government to declare the AEI Field as a permanent venue for the North East Book Fair during the first part of November every year, to make the process of holding the book fest hassle-free.
The book fest will culminate on November 12.
Dignitaries who attended today�s function included former MP Ramen Deka, the head of Federation of Publishers and Booksellers Association of India SC Sethi, National Book Trust director Neera Jain and former Asam Sahitya Sabha president Dr Dhrubajyoti Borah.