‘Digital technology, high prices of books taking away readers’

Agra, Feb 24 (IANS) Development of digital technology and costly books had made fewer and fewer people to take to reading at present, speakers at a literary conference organised by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department and SPEEHA, an NGO working for ecology and conservation, said here.

SPHEEHA’s academic activist Shabd Mishra said: “Libraries and bookshops across the city are witnessing fewer footfalls. The habit of reading itself is going out of fashion either because people, especially the youth, are too engrossed in WhatsApping and taking selfies or they prefer to spend time and money on clothing and food. All this in a region that produced literary giants like Amir Khusrau, Mirza Ghalib, Surdas and Mir Taqi Mir.”

The event began with a talk on Urdu Literature of Braj region by eminent scholar Nasreen Begum who invoked the greats of Urdu language like Amir Khusro, Shah Nizamuddin, Nazir Akbarabaadi and others in her presentation.

Dr Shashi Tiwari, while talking of Hindi literary scene in Braj, lamented the state of literary activities in Agra and suggested that instead of aping the West, we should copy the way they promote their literature.

Agra Municipal Corporation Commissioner Indra Vikram Singh said it was encouraging to see non-literary people of Agra taking the initiative in organising literary events.

Meanwhile, along with the 10-day cultural extravaganza Taj Mahotsava for tourists, the city will hold a high-profile Taj Literature Festival from Friday.

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