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Books subjugated by market: Joshi

Observing that books were facing the "danger" of being dominated by market forces, Human Resource Development Minister Murali Manohar Joshi said literature should not be allowed to get "subjugated". He also added that it was a matter of great concern and there should striving against these forces.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2004 13:15 IST

Observing that books were facing the "danger" of being dominated by market forces, Human Resource Development Minister Murali Manohar Joshi said literature should not be allowed to get "subjugated".

"Books getting dominated by market forces is dangerous and a matter of great concern. We must not allow subjugation of literature by market forces", he said after inaugurating the 16th World Book Fair in the capital here.

Calling for the formation of a "knowledge society" in which intellectuals would get a "position of pride", Joshi said attempts should be made to create "superminds" in India as opposed to "supermarkets".

"Instead of moving from a market to a supermarket, we should proceed from a mind to supermind", he said.

On the debate of books losing out to the increasingly popular internet, the Minister said the value of books can never be diminished.

"You can read a book whenever you want, however you want. You cannot do that with the internet. Books have a special feel and fragrance of their own", he said.

Joshi said the value of books would never be reduced as "all beautiful things lasted forever".

Earlier, Nobel laureate and renowned writer Sir V S Naipaul, who was the Guest of Honour at the inauguration ceremony, said literature was on the 'verge of extinction" because publishers were only interested in seeking "marketing triumphs".

Naipaul said literature, which is supposed to be a "reflection of the world we inhabit", was giving way to stories of "little green men, wizards and ghosts", "debasing" the idea of literature.

Joshi said India was "proud" of Naipaul and hoped he would come out with more books and win another Nobel prize.

The 16th World Book Fair, which began in the capital today, brings together 1,210 participants from 17 countries including Germany, France, the UK, Pakistan, the United States and Switzerland among others.

The theme of this year's fair, organised by the National Book Trust is "India's Contribution to World Civilisation in the Field of Science and Technology", for which a special pavillion is being put up at the event.

The nine-day affair, which promises to be a treat for book lovers, will also feature two international seminars besides a multi-lingual 'Kavi Darbar'.

First Published: Feb 16, 2004 10:18 IST