Published: 23rd December 2021
PN Panicker spread a very simple and most potent message - vayichu valaruka - to read and grow: President Kovind
The President said that the ‘Sakshara Keralam’ movement became popular and effective due to the foundations laid down by Panicker
The late PN Panicker wanted to remove the evil of illiteracy. He spread a very simple and most potent message, Vayichu Valaruka, which means 'Read and Grow'," said the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. He was addressing the gathering after unveiling of the statue of PN Panicker at Poojappura, Thiruvananthapuram today. The President said that Panicker made libraries and literacy a movement of the people.
The President said that it is a unique feature of Kerala that in every village, even in the remotest villages, there is a library and people feel an emotional connect with the library in their village or town just as they feel a special connect with the temple or church or mosque or school in their village or town. Libraries created by the movement of Panicker later became nerve centres of all social and cultural activities of which the literacy movement of Kerala is an impressive example.
He said that the credit for libraries having a central place in the culture of Kerala goes to PN Panicker who connected common people to libraries. He noted that the Granthashala Sangam started by Panicker with about 50 small libraries in 1945 grew into a large network of thousands of libraries. He said that through this large network of libraries, the common people of Kerala could get to know the thoughts and ideals of Sree Narayana Guru, Ayyankali, VT Bhattathiripad and other great masters. The cosmopolitan outlook of an average person from Kerala can be traced to the library and literacy movement started by Panicker.
Pointing to the fact that Kerala became the first state to have hundred per cent literacy, the President said that the ‘Sakshara Keralam’ movement became popular and effective due to the foundations laid down by Panicker. The high literacy and education levels in Kerala have had a multiplier effect. Kerala leads other states on several indices of human development, including aspects of sustainable development. He said that successive governments in Kerala have kept sustained focus on the agenda of growth and development. Therefore, the state has maintained its leadership position on several markers of excellence.
The President said that observing the punyatithi of Panicker on 19 June as Reading Day is the most appropriate way of paying tribute to the great nation builder. Praising the PN Panicker Foundation for carrying forward the mission of Panicker with dedication, the President said that the Foundation is promoting the cause of digital literacy as a tool to realise the cause of inclusive growth. He was happy to note that the Foundation started digital learning in rural areas since the beginning of this century and this effort has succeeded in establishing thousands of home digital libraries. He appreciated the efforts of the Foundation in reaching the unreached through initiatives like PN Panicker National Reading Mission. Referring to a saying in Sanskrit Amritam tu Vidya, which means education or learning is like nectar, the President said that the Panicker Foundation is distributing this nectar of learning in the entire country.