Art And Culture

Books Have a Role in National Development

Books Have a Role  in National DevelopmentBooks Have a Role  in National Development

Book reading has a critical impact on the country's development. Some people think that in the battle between print books and digital books, paper books will lose out to the tablet market. "But print books will stay in society as they are a valuable treasure," said President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday.

Books have been strong pillars of Iranian society helping in national development, and it is the government's duty to provide publishers, authors, translators and all those involved with the wherewithal and support to facilitate publication of books, Rouhani stressed at the opening ceremony of the 28th Tehran International Book Fair (TIBF) in  Imam Khomeini Mosalla (prayer ground), on Tuesday (May 5).

A part of the solution to removing various problems in the country, including social, political and environmental, can be found in reading quality books. One should have faith and belief in books and "unless we introduce authors as intellectuals and publishers as the best social workers, we cannot overcome obstacles in the way," he said.

 Rouhani also emphasized the importance of developing libraries in the country's mosques and other public places and said "we can achieve development goals, only by promotion of reading habit in the society," IRNA reported.

He further said: "The influence of books can be traced in a society's moral and ethical values," adding: "Vulgarity and insults reduce the value of a book." A worthy book is one that is "ethical and reasoned."

It is not an exaggeration to say books "are our best companions and our pride; our culture, literature and poetry are rooted in books, they guide us and conduct our cultural diplomacy," the president said.

However, the rules of publication should be completely transparent, clear-cut and brief; otherwise it will be chaotic if everyone acts as per his own will, he cautioned. Respecting traditional religious culture, conforming to the country's laws, and working for national security should be adhered by all.

"It would not be practical to let every superstitious or radical belief to be published in the name of religion; on the other hand, irrational and strict supervision should be avoided so as not to harass authors and publishers," Rouhani said, quoted by FNA.


Referring to the statistics on this year's edition of the book fair the president said, "Presenting 300,000 Persian as well as 1.65 million foreign titles is of great significance" and shows the importance of the fair within and outside the borders.

"Purchasing books and book reading ought to find a way into our lifestyles. In this case, both the government and the people are responsible to build a culture of book reading in the society," he added.

Schools and mosques are the best places to start with. Book reading classes can be held in schools to get students familiar with books from a young age. Also libraries at mosques can help increase the readership in the community." The president noted that bookstores and libraries in the country are expected to see a considerable number of buyers and visitors during the year.

"In the religion we practice (Islam), the prophet's miracle, the holy Qur'an, was a book, and the first Shia Imam's legacy was a book as well, the 'Nahj al-Balagha' - sayings of Imam Ali (AS), Rouhani said.


The president named masterpieces in Persian literature and poetry like Ferdowsi's epic 'Shahnameh' (Book of Kings), Saadi's 'Bustan' and 'Gulistan' (the Orchard and Rose Garden), Mawlana's 'Mathnawi', and Hafez's 'Divan' as invaluable national treasures through which the world gets to know Iran's rich and ancient civilization.

He asserted that Islam has spread throughout the world via words, and not swords. "The truth of Islam has been finely and thoroughly clarified in the holy Qur'an and 'hadiths' (sayings) of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the 12 infallible Imams," Rouhani stressed.

As Rouhani put it, books are the best presents for any occasion and it is to the benefit of people to read books in their leisure time, be it standing in the queue or in the bus or train.

Omani Minister of Heritage and Culture Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq al-Said (whose country is the special guest at the fair) and Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati, and cultural deputy minister Seyed Abbas Salehi, also made separate speeches at the opening ceremony.

Later, the dignitaries visited a selected part of the book fair.

The book fair is open to the public from Wednesday (May 6) and will run until May 16.