Only those who read books can really understand the worth of books. We live in the society where book reading is not promoted at all. Last month on a Sunday, I got a chance to visit a local book market at Regal Chowk at Saddar. It was then that I came to know how careless is our nation towards books. Books were lying on the ground virtually like trash; there were very few people who were in the market. I thought at the moment; what if the authors of these books come to this place.

It was quite shameful to see the disrespect displayed for books. And when I asked the price of some of them, I was surprised that they were being sold so cheap. I asked the bookseller what price he had paid for them and he said he had bought them by weight. He had no interest whether they were by Marx, Freud, Sophocles or Marlow; it as if they were just a commodity that he had to get rid of. All this made me realize that we are a people who have little respect for books. What we fail to understand is how significant books are for all of us.

IFTIKHAR ALAM SHAIKH,

Lahore, February 14.