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Sunday, May 28, 2023

A journey towards establishing reading rooms in Balochistan

The author praises the youth of Balochistan and their noble initiative to set up reading rooms in the province. Despite the lack of government support in Balochistan, the youth continues to encourage reading culture in the province.

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Balochistan languishes hard under the grip of educational backwardness. In spite of natural resources in abundance, the people of the province are crawling pathetically in order to get even primary education.

Furthermore, a desperate shortage of schools causes a large chunk of almost 70% of children away from education. Balochistan, encapsulated with a myriad of daunting challenges, yet the youth of the province hold immense passion, love and enthusiasm towards education.

Read more: 75% of Pakistanis don’t read books: Gallup survey

Amid the desperate issues of the educational crisis, the youth has set its boat sail for the propagation and promotion of reading rooms across the province, especially in Southern Balochistan.

Ranging from social media campaigns to book donation camps, the passionate, enthusiastic and book-loving youth is working tirelessly to establish libraries in the far-flung areas of Balochistan where education is a far cry for the impoverished residents.

Sadly, those students who are involved in the glorious work barely enjoy any kind of incentive from the governing bodies.

So far, many libraries have been established in different areas of the province: Mashkay Public Library [MPL] is one of the fruits of the tiresome struggle of the studying youth. It is situated in the most backward district of the province: Awaran.

Read more: Awaran and the Fate of Internees

Importance of libraries

Previously there existed no reading rooms for the people of Balochistan. Probably, it will leave a positive change in the town. In fact, the praiseworthy initiative of the youth surely will bring a conducive change across the province because libraries are as important for society as a soul for a body.

The scarcity of reading rooms leaves a number of problems for society, such as ignorance, extremism etc. However, the chances of ignorance increase in a society, nation and country which is far from books.

Read more: Books as decoration: How have we made hypocrites out of ourselves!

Books are the sources of enlightenment and consciousness in humans. Therefore, books can immensely help in forging a better and clear prospect for a nation. Perhaps libraries are the best possible antidotes to extremism, radicalism and conservatism in a society or nation.

Until a nation remains devoid of education, progress and prosperity are mere concepts of daydreaming.

Lack of government support

Encountering with one of the vibrant members of MPL, I asked him whether they are having financial support from the local government. He said, “we do not enjoy any sort of support from the government. In fact, sometimes we have to pay off money from our own pockets to keep it going,” he said.

Given the widespread social evils in our society, reading rooms can by large extent help to eradicate them. If today we are on the verge of failure it is all because of having no access to books. Otherwise, the Baloch nation holds a paramount interest in education.

Read more: Pakistan needs to address issues in Balochistan before its too late

Unfortunately, we live in such a society where reading rooms are rare and the culture of thinking is highly discouraged.

In spite of the least number of resources, the youth is keeping their steps forward for an educated Balochistan. However, the initiatives of the Government remain entirely non-existent; even though Quetta city-the capital of Balochistan-desperately stands short of libraries.

The residents of the capital city confront numerous issues due to a shortage of reading rooms. Interestingly, the city is an educational epicentre for the people of Balochistan, perhaps it deserves reading facilities. It is quite discouraging to see the pathetic condition of even the capital city.

Read more: Renowned author Paulo Coelho appeals people to donate books to Balochistan

The noble youth of Balochistan

Therefore the youths of Southern Balochistan decided their way through establishing a reading room. Such vibrant people are the need of the hour for the betterment of a nation who render their money and physical comforts to enlighten the path for their people and nation.

Indeed, Balochistan is rife with visionary people, but a shortage of resources makes it a hard task for them.

However, keeping their monopoly intact and preserved, the feudal politicians never want to promote and encourage support for such causes because they know very well if we introduce books among the public, our authority would surely be challenged. Hence they don’t want to lose the reign of domination and power.

Read more: Balochistan: The Decade Ahead

Last but least, the noble and visionary struggle of the youth must be appreciated and encouraged because the culture of reading is the best possible way for a nation to go along the path of progress and success.

Our society needs to be revived socially as well as politically, therefore ‘reading culture’ can be the best possible equipment for this purpose.

The writer is a teacher at Delta Language Centre Quetta. He is based in Awaran, Balochistan. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.