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Book exhibition held in Kabul

By Akhtar M. Nikzad-KABUL: Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) in collaboration with a number of private publication centers observed the “Book Week” by holding a book fair in the capital city.

In the exhibition 14 private publication houses have displayed around 20,000 books at Babur Shah Center on Saturday. The exhibition will be open for five days. The fair is aimed to promote the reading culture.

Ahmad Zia Massoud, President’s Special Representative for Reform and Good Governance, termed the book exhibition important for promotion of the reading habit. He said that without knowledge and research, progress is impossible.

He said the reading culture among the youth is not so popular. The president’s representative urged the young Afghans to adopt the habit of reading books.

Massoud said that in the past decade no considerable step was taken to promote the national languages. The national languages could not hold the position for long in the country if were not promoted, he added.

“A small number of writers publish books every year. That’s why they are not supported. Our youth are not fond of reading books. Therefore, educational institutes and families have a significant role to play while encouraging young people to study books,” he said.

So far several book exhibitions have been held to promote the study habit in the country, but the publishers said that those who are fond of books are unable to buy books due to financial problems.

Abdul Wadood Mukhtar Zada, a publisher, said that reading culture is not popular among people as compared to the neighboring countries. He said that financial problems and unemployment are key reasons in this regard.

He added that if the government supported the writers and publishers, it could encourage youth to buy books at prices that they could afford.

“I think that lack of technical support for publishers, telecast of immoral foreign serials by some private televisions, and excessive use of social networking websites have prevented young Afghans from studying books,” he said.

Najibullah, another publisher, said that young people’s interest in books decreased as compared to the past five years. He said that a few years ago youth purchased books normally, but this year most people get information from internet.

He said that 25 percent discount is offered on books at the fair in order to encourage people to study books.

However, students who visited the exhibition said that books that could help them in the studies were expensive.

“A university student cannot afford to buy a book at Afs400, because he had no income for six to seven years. Those who graduated from universities few years ago are still searching for jobs instead of reading books,” said Aima Azami, a university student.

Ahmad Shah, a student of the Kabul University, said that such exhibitions should be held on a regular basis to promote the study culture in the country.

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