We have been told time and again that reading at least one chapter of a book a day will enhance our knowledge and vocabulary, and in India we are spoiled for choice. We have many good authors and there is no dearth of topics from which to choose from, and almost every street corner has a book store. But among stores there are also libraries for which on June 19 we celebrate National Reading Day, not for the books, but for P.N. Panicker, a teacher from Kerala, who kick-started the Library Movement. Also Read - Triple Lockdown Begins in Thiruvananthapuram: How it is Different From Normal Shutdown; What's Allowed, What's Prohibited Till July 13 | Full Details Here

This year is the 25th edition of National Reading Day, a day dedicated to Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker and his efforts to establish libraries in his home state. But that was not all, as he was also responsible for triggering a popular cultural movement in Kerala which produced universal literacy in the state in the 1990s. Also Read - Kerala Lockdown News: State Imposes Triple Lockdown in Thiruvananthapuram From Monday For One Week, Secretariat Won’t Function

Who was Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker:

Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker was born on March 1, 1909 in Jamjamjum to Govinda Pillai and Janaky Amma at Neelamperoor, India. As a teacher he had much more influence than many others of his time, and he wanted to improve society through education. Also Read - Kerala Lockdown Extension News: Coronavius Restrictions to Remain in Place For Next 1 Year | Check Here Latest Guidelines

In 1926 he started the Sanadanadharmam Library in his hometown, and then in 1945 he led the formation of the Travancore Library Association with 47 rural libraries. The organisation’s slogan was ‘Read and Grow’. After the formation of the state of Kerala in 1956, it became Kerala Granthasala Sangham (KGS). He would travel to villages of Kerala to tell people about the benefits of reading.

His hard work won the Grandhasala Sangham the prestigious ‘Krupsakaya Award’ from UNESCO in 1975. He then started the Kerala Association for Non-formal Education and Development (KANFED) in 1977 and it became instrumental in starting the Kerala State Literacy Mission. This led Kerala to its universal literacy movement, and then to it becoming the first state to achieve universal literacy.

Why National Reading Day is Celebrated on June 18:

After Puthuvayil Narayana Panicker passed away on June 19, 1995, the Kerala government, in acknowledgement of his contribution to the state’s high literacy achievement, ordered that June 19 be observed annually as National Reading Day.