On the evening of Tuesday 30th April 2013 Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated 2nd Ahmedabad National Book Fair at the Gujarat University Convention Centre in Ahmedabad. In his speech Shri Modi called for the popularizing of reading and spoke at length about how technology can make a major difference in popularizing books. The Chief Minister spoke about how the book fair represents a collective effort and strength to make books more popular. The Chief Minister also released a book ‘Kutch: A Pictorial Journey’ written by Mr. Dinesh Kumble, who is the brother of well-known cricket player Mr. Anil Kumble.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister said that this book fair was inspired by the 150th birth anniversary of Sayaji Rao Gaekwad and the success of Vanche Gujarat. Shri Modi pointed out that the success of the first National Book Fair, held last year was very big. “This year, two good events are associated with this book fair. The first is the 125th birth anniversary of Shri Kanhaiya Lal Munshi and the second is the birth centenary of Shri Rajendra Shah ji,” the Chief Minister shared.
Speaking about the book fair this time, Shri Modi said that this time there is a counter to donate books at the book fair. Shri Modi expressed confidence that people will donate books and stated, “This way, books can reach sections of society where books have not reached. This is not about a budgetary allocation but about our values and culture.”
Shri Modi talked at length on the use of technology in popularizing books. He affirmed, “Whole libraries will be available at the click of a mouse and the importance of e-books is increasing. Every publisher gives a digital book too. This has increased the reach.” He added that the Gujarat Government had taken the initiative of e-libraries in the Bar Association. He also gave the example of how the Panchtantra series became very popular through the invigoration of technology. “Through technology, we are trying to spread books to every house,” the Chief Minister shared. He also avowed that every person has had times when what he or she read in books has helped them. Shri Modi also stated that with the use of technology comes a challenge. “Earlier, people studied with books, then guides came, then people read from suggestions,” and added, “I see a new challenge with technology. Go to Google Guru and you will get everything. Then one does not go into details.”
Speaking on making books more popular among the people of Gujarat Shri Modi said, “We want to make Lakshmi Pujaris to Pujaris of Saraswati as well. If there is Saraswati ji, Lakshmi ji does not go away.” He urged people to identify a place in their homes as a Granth Mandir and further said that such is the magnetic power of books that if it is at home, one will feel like seeing it.
Shri Modi called for more books to be published on the tourism of Gujarat and also called for the spreading of books written in one language into other languages. Talking about making books more popular among children, Shri Modi pointed, “In a time when children are going towards video games, I ask software professionals, can we have video games that take children to books through these games?” He also strongly urged children to come to the book fair and visit the kiosks.
He congratulated the authors and especially the new authors. Referring to the new authors Shri Modi declared, “I tell all the new writers, go nowhere these seven days. Perhaps you can write a book on this too.” He opined that both the reader and the writer inspire each other and hoped this grew with this book fair. He shared that more than the stage it is the words of the reader that are more priceless for the writer.
The programme was attended by eminent Gujarati litterateur Shri Bhagawati Kumar Sharma. Shri Modi congratulated Shri Sharma and lauded him for his contribution to literature. Newly elected Ahmedabad Mayor Smt. Minakshiben Patel spoke on the occasion. Shri MA Sikandar, Director of National Book Trust and Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Shri Guruprasad Mohapatra were present on the occasion.