Diminishing reading culture worries Herat’s booksellers

HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): A number of booksellers, culturists and writers in western Herat province say people’s interest in purchasing and reading books has declined due to poverty.
Mohammad Jamshid Alami, a resident of 3rd police district of Herat city, told Pajhwok Afghan News that the recent developments in the country had affected the education in the country, especially in Herat.
According to Alami, rising poverty and economic problems in the country have caused the culture of reading and buying books to decline day by day.
He considered the situation as disappointing and asked the authorities to use every possible means for the development of the intellectual level of youth.
Ehsan Usmani, another youth, who visited the public library in Herat to study, told Pajhwok that there used to be several study centres in Herat, but currently only the study hall of Herat library was open to its patrons. According to him, the fact that the number of visitors has decreased is worrying.
He added: “Although I understand the current situation, but the youth are main driving force of the society and every young person should give time to study for the growth of himself and the country on a regular daily schedule.”
Meanwhile, some booksellers in Herat say the increasing poverty and subsequent economic problems do not allow people to buy books.
Mir Abdul Ali, one of the booksellers in the center of Herat, said that people’s interest in reading books, especially young people, had decreased to an unprecedented level in recent months.
He said that the books, which are his capital, could not be sold for months and their business faced an uncertain future.
These booksellers say they face financial losses due to the decline in culture of reading and lack of sales.
Abdul Basir Ragheb, an expert on cultural affairs, stressed the need for promoting reading habits and said it was the duty of the government to promote the culture of reading through basic programs.
Meanwhile, Mawlana Naweenull Haq Haqqani, director of information and culture, said that his department was striving to revive the culture of reading by holding seminars and book fairs in the province.