Mais oui! Demain, Le 23 Avril c’est la journée mondiale du livre! Each year that date reminds us of the importance of books in our everyday lives. How they can shape our lives to make us what we are. Books are the basis of a child’s education and the training of man to make him what he will be. A good book is the primary source of the knowledge which has helped to produce the complex technological world of today and on which the world of the future will be built. It is said that a good teacher can transmit a good deal of knowledge to his learners, but the world itself is short of good teachers. Moreover, even the best teachers themselves rely on the books to assist them in their tasks. They are the indispensable tools of development and progress in the building of a nation. They are the very source of knowledge and information which lift man from the plane of pure animalism to socialism.

The value of a library is unique and irreplaceable. It offers the bookworm a wide and unfettered reading. It enables him to broaden his mind with the pleasures of great literature. Through an intelligent reading, he can gain access to the accumulated experience, wisdom and imagination of the past and present which is available only through the printed pages. He can start life where his elders had left off, without having to rediscover what they laboured to discover. As a matter of fact the library provides the individual with the unique opportunity for enhancing his human dignity. With this ware-house of knowledge and understanding, the individual will become a more useful member of the community and a better citizen. The library will help him obtain a better understanding of how his country is run, thus enabling him to become a more active and intelligent democrat who can take an active part in running the affairs of his own country and even those of the world.

So it is clear that the book makes you an exact man and builds up your personality. A cultivated man is someone who reads. He is knowledgeable because he reads as knowledge is mostly obtainable through books. 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 add up to your own knowledge, thus you outgrow your own opinions.

«Un livre est un outil irremplaçable» comme l’a si bien dit Jean-Pierre Lenoir, the former director of the bookshop ‘Le Trèfle’ in an interview in a daily last year. He had been compelled to close down his second bookshop in Curepipe because of the constant dwindling in the number of readers― «La lecture se meurt lentement mais sûrement, pour ne pas dire est déjà morte.» Today the new technologies are having the upper hand on the book. The pleasure of literature is being sacrificed on the altar of technologies. It is like the movie-houses which have been superseded by the TV at home. Those who try to short-circuit reading for the new technologies must be prepared to pay a heavy price at language level, because the only way to develop a good verbal skill is through an intelligent and purposeful reading. «L’électronique ne remplacera jamais un livre.» A book is a book, and nothing will replace a book!

The new technologies will never replace a book. Literature is life. It is unimaginable to imagine a world without books, 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 lovable than yourself will add to your stock of knowledge, wisdom, wit and love provided you read with an open.

By Raj Paneken