Gift a book, not bouquet, as greeting: Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged people to "give a book instead of a bouquet as a greeting", saying there is no joy greater than reading and no strength greater than knowledge.
Speaking at the launch of P.N. Panicker National Reading Day celebrations in Kerala's capital Kochi, Modi said the state had been an inspiration to whole nation in achieving high literacy rate.
"Kerala has been a torchbearer and inspiration to the whole nation in the field of literacy," he said, also urging the youth to take the pledge of reading.
"Together, we can once again make India a land of wisdom and knowledge," Modi said, adding: "I appeal to people to give a book instead of bouquet as a greeting. Such a move can make a big difference."
"There can be no joy greater than reading and no strength greater than knowledge. Kerala had been an inspiration to the whole nation in literacy," he added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said knowledge should not be limited to literacy and that the real goal was to bring in social and economic changes.
Inaugurating the month-long 'Reading Month' celebration of P N Panicker Foundation here, he said foundation of good knowledge will be followed by a super structure of a better society.
"The real goal should be for bringing in social and economic growth," he said.
Stressing the need for digital literacy, Modi said, "I am happy to see that the foundation is now focusing on digital literacy and this is the need of the hour. I see big hope in such committed social movements. Such a move can make a big difference."
He also wanted the youngsters to take a pledge for reading and also encourage others, adding a well read generation would help India grow.
"There can be no joy greater than reading and no friend greater than knowledge," he said.
"The youngsters have the capacity to make a better society and nation, and together we can once again make India a land of wisdom and knowledge," the Prime Minister said.
He also appealed to people to give a book instead of bouquet while greeting.
Lauding Kerala's achievements in the field of education and literacy, Modi said the southern state has been a "torch bearer and inspiration" to the country in this regard.
Kerala is the first state in the country to become cent percent literate state. The state also has the distinction of being the first to attain 100 per cent primary education, he said.
Modi also recalled the contributions of citizens, social organisations and religious leaders in the state's achievements in education.
"Kerala's success in education could not have been achieved by governments alone. Citizens and social organisations have played an active role," he said.
Reading and knowledge should not be limited to expectations of work. We should develop the habit of social responsibility, service to the nation and humanity, he said.
"It is said that a literate woman can educate two families, but I say two generations. Kerala has set an example worth emulating in this regard," he said.
P N Panicker was the driving spirit behind the library network in Kerala through Kerala Grandhasala Sangham (Library Association) with 47 rural libraries in 1945.