Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker is known as the Father of the Library Movement in the Indian state of Kerala. The activities of the Kerala Grandhasala Sanghom that he initiated triggered a popular cultural movement in Kerala which produced universal literacy in the state in the 1990s.
Panicker was born on 1 March 1909 in Jamjamjum to Govinda Pillai and Janaky Amma at Neelamperoor, India. In 1926 he started the Sanadanadharmam Library as a teacher in his hometown.he was a teacher and his influence on society was much greater than many of his time.
Panicker led the formation of Thiruvithaamkoor Granthasala Sangham (Travancore Library Association) in 1945 with 47 rural libraries. The slogan of the organization was ‘Read and Grow’. Later on, with the formation of Kerala State in 1956, it became Kerala Granthasala Sangham (KGS). He traveled to the villages of Kerala proclaiming the value of reading. He succeeded in bringing some 6,000 libraries into this network. Grandhasala Sangham won the prestigious ‘Krupsakaya Award’ from UNESCO in 1975. Panicker was the General Secretary of Sangham for 32 years, until 1977, when it was taken over by the State Government. It became the Kerala State Library Council, with an in-built democratic structure and funding.
After his organization was taken over by the State, Panicker became subject to political interference. In 1977 he responded by founding the Kerala Association for Non-formal Education and Development (KANFED). KANFED was instrumental in starting the Kerala State Literacy Mission, which led Kerala to its universal literacy movement. Thus, Kerala became the first state which achieved universal literacy.
Panicker took a keen interest in promoting Agricultural Books Corners, The Friendship Village Movement (Sauhrudagramam), Reading Programmes for Families, Grants for Books and building libraries and Best Reader’s Award P.N. Panicker Foundation.
Panicker died on 19 June 1995, at age 86. The Government of Kerala acknowledged his contributions and ordered that 19 June be observed, annually, as Vaayanadinam (Day of Reading) with a week-long series of activities at schools and public institutions to honor his contributions to the cause of literacy, education and library movement.
The Department of Posts honored Panicker by issuing a commemorative postage stamp on 21 June 2004.
His birth centenary was celebrated under the auspices of the P. N. Panicker Foundation in 2010.
One of the biggest reasons why we read books is to gain knowledge. Books are a rich source of information. Reading books on varied subjects imparts information and increases the depth about the subject as well. Whenever you read a book, you learn a new information that otherwise would not have known.
Studies have shown that reading has strong positive effects on the brain. By staying mentally stimulated, you can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because, keeping your brain active prevents it from losing power. The brain is a muscle and like other muscles in the body, exercise keeps it strong and healthy. Similar to solving puzzles, reading books is a great way to exercise your brain and keep it healthy.
Reading has a positive effect on the body as well. Reading a book can relieve stress better than taking a walk or listening to music. According to studies who read more tend to have lower stress lev
Every time you read a book, you have to remember the setting of the book, the characters, their backgrounds, their history, their personalities, the sub-plots and so much more. As your brain learns to remember all this, your memory becomes better. What’s more, with every new memory you create, you create new pathways and this strengthens the existing ones.
The more you read, the more imaginative you become. Whenever you read a fiction book, it takes you another world. In the new world, your imagination works at its best as you try to see things in your own mind.
Develops critical thinking skills
One of the primary benefits of reading books is its ability to develop critical thinking skills. For example, reading a mystery novel sharpens your mind. Critical thinking skills are crucial when it comes to making important day to day decisions. Reading requires an individual to think and process information in a way that watching television can’t. The more you read, the deeper your understanding becomes about what you’re reading and its application.
Reading improves your vocabulary and command on the language. As you read, you come across new words, idioms, new words, phrases and writing styles.
Improves writing skills
Reading a well-written book affects your ability to become a better writer. Just like artists influence others, so do writers. Many successful authors gained their expertise by reading the works of others. So, if you want to become a better writer, start by learning from previous masters.
Improves communication skills
Improving your vocabulary and writing skills goes hand in hand with developing your communication skills. The more you read and write, the better you communicate. Increasing your ability to communicate, improves your relationships and even makes you a better employee or student.
Improves focus and concentration
In our busy lifestyles, our attention is drawn in different directions each day as we try to multi-task through each day. For example, you may find yourself dividing your time between working on a task, chatting with people via Skype, checking email, keeping an eye on Facebook and interacting with your colleagues. All this multi-tasking can lead to high stress level and low productivity. When you read a book, all your attention is focused on what you’re reading. Your eyes and thoughts are immersed in the details of the story. This improves your concentration and focus. Read a book at least 20 minutes a day, and you will be amazed at how much more focused you will be.
A fruitful hobby
Reading books keep us occupied. It also leads to a fruitful use of time. It not only helps us get rid of worries, but also diverts our mind from monotony. Books are excellent sources of recreation. Someone who loves to read can never get bored, as this is a perfect way to rid of boredom. As books take you to another different world, you relax and rejuvenate.
Compared to other forms of entertainment, books are quite cheap. You will never get a movie ticket for R. 300 to 400. But, with this money, you can buy yourself a book and be entertained for many hours.
Life is full of challenges. As we move through different phases in different, a little motivation can be of great help. Reading inspirational books about life experiences can change our lives. Reading a good book, such an autobiography keeps you encouraged and you also learn tips to help you achieve your personal goals. Basically, you get inspired to become a better husband, wife, daughter, son, mother, father or even employee.
There are thousands, if not millions, of great self-help books. Many of these books can actually help improve your health. Reading such books reduces levels of depression. People with severe depression can benefit from reading self-help books. Apart from this, such books offer important tips on exercising, dieting and other healthy lifestyle tips. All this leads to improved mental and physical health.
Makes you more empathetic
According to studies, losing yourself in books, especially fiction, might increase your empathy. In a study conducted in the Netherlands, researchers showed that people who were “emotionally transported” by a work of fiction experienced a boost in empathy. By reading a book, you become part of the story and feel the pain and other emotions of the characters. This in turn allows your mind to become more aware of how different things affect other people. Eventually, this improves your ability to emphasize with other people. So, go ahead and read that story, a world with more empathetic people would definitely be a better place!
Reading is a fundamental skill builder. For every good course on earth, there is a matching book to go with it. Books provide important information on various subjects and topics. The best thing about reading is that you can go deeper that what learn in a classroom discussion. Whether it’s cooking, dancing, or even cleaning, you can always improve your skills by reading books.
By reading many books, you communicate better and become more informed on various areas of life. All this translates into a higher self-esteem. Since you have confidence in yourself and your ability to deliver, you become more productive and overall a much better person.
Books are portable and light in weight. They are not like bulky computers and games that take too much space. With a book, you can pack it in your handbag and easily carry it everywhere. You can read anywhere, in a plane as you travel, in your bed before you sleep, under a shade as you relax, or even during your holiday.
Helps you sleep better
Poor sleep leads to low productivity. This is why so many experts recommend that you establish regular de-stressing routine before you sleep to help calm your mind and therefore sleep better. Reading a book is one of the best ways to calm yourself before you go to bed. Instead of watching television or spending too much time on your smartphone while in bed, take some time to read. The bright lights from the electronic devices will only affect your sleep. On the other hand, a book will help you sleep better.
Learn about another world
The world of fiction allows you to travel to another world, where everything is different. By reading books, you get a glimpse of other cultures and places. Books expand your horizons, letting you see other countries, other people and so many other things you have never seen or imagined. It’s the perfect way to visit a strange country in your mind.
We can always share whatever we have read with our family, friends and colleagues. All this increases our ability to socialize. Humans are social beings and in the world of smartphones, we are losing our ability to socialize. However, reading had led to the formation of book clubs and other forums where we get a chance to share and interact with others.
The biggest difference between reading and watching television is that reading gives you the scope to unleash your creativity. The more you read, the more you learn new things. New thoughts always stretch our minds to rediscover life in new and better ways. We start to see the world in a different way and this way we find new creative solutions.
Learn at your own pace
Another benefit of reading a book is that you learn at your own pace. Since you have the book all the time, you can always go back to a section you feel you don’t understand. You can re-read a chapter as many times as you wish, without worry that you will miss out a section. If it’s a self-help book, you can tackle one issue at a time. Once you handle one problem, then you can move to the next issue whenever you feel you’re ready. Everything is done at your own pace and most importantly, your mind is free to interpret things the way you feel.
Lots of choices to choose from
There are so many great books to read that you will never finish them all in a lifetime. Books have been written for centuries, right now, someone is writing a book, and in the future, books will still be written. Whether you’re looking for something to inspire you, something to make you laugh, romance or even gaining a new skill, there are countless books for that. All you need is to take some time and pick which one to read. There will never be a shortage of great books.
Books help us better discern good ideas from bad ideas. Reading a book allows us to learn about different approaches to life and the problems we face. By doing this, you get an opportunity to discern what has worked in the past and what has not worked. Basically, you learn to make better decisions in life.
Learn about your history
History plays an important role is who we are today. By reading books, we get a better understanding of the past and how it continues to affect us. With books, you get a chance to learn about your country, family and the world in general. It’s a great way to revisit your past and appreciate the present.
Apart from being inexpensive, you will also save a lot of money by reading books. Books don’t require electricity, neither do they need any form of maintenance. When you read a book on a certain skill, such as cooking, woodwork, or simple DIY tasks, you save yourself the money you would have used to hire a contractor. You not only learn new skills, but also save yourself a lot of expenses.
No side effects of the digital world
Spending too much time watching television or playing video games can affect your eye health in the long run. On the other hand, books are safe and easy. No one has ever gone blind from reading too many books. There are no known side effects or dangers of reading great books. All there is are benefits.
Makes you smarter
With so much to learn from books, people who read regularly tend to be smarter than those who don’t. They tend to have an open mind and are more aware of their surroundings.
Books are better than movies
So many movies have been adapted from books. But, if you read a book and then watch its movie, you will agree that the book is 100 times better than the movie.