A recent news item says a survey on government and private schools revealed that many of the young students upto class eight are not able to read text matters and finding tough to do division and multiplication. But, the country as a whole and the political and social shenanigans keep saying that we have developed or still developing. But, the question is how long?
Not only among school students even among the educated and enlightened ‘reading the text’ has become a rare affair. The population is slowly relying on visuals and pictorial presentations. Agreed, that a visual is equivalent to a thousand words. Nevertheless, if everyone totally started depending on visuals then what will be the future of languages, their developments and written materials? What will happen to even talks and speeches? Yes. There are many speakers today who speak eloquently on anything from ‘pin’ to ‘philosophy’. But, most of the times, these speeches are invariably veering towards hilarity than seriousness or substance.
But, in general, I find the public both educated and uneducated are ready to listen to such talk shows garnished with overloads of fun and watch short videos with some message. Even there I am afraid if some slides with texts may likely to be ignored unless they are colorful and eye catching. I hear some of my young friends say that I write a ‘text’ in my Face Book posts which are difficult to read and comprehend. I agree; I write and also add a picture to drive home my point. If you don’t have the patience to read and comprehend how the vocabulary will improve? Don’t we get stagnant with just a bunch of common words? In Tamil, this had already happened; the TV serials the dialogues are not only just mundane but also limited to just 100 words in use. Does it help the development of a language?
Computers and visual media have become a boon as well as a bane. The chips which memorize, remember and instruct everything have converting us into zombies and idiots. Instead making them our slaves, we are slowly becoming over dependent on them for any and everything. The brain prefers to forget many things from our own phone number, pass words, pins and birthdays to what we are supposed to buy and what not.
Belonged to the earlier generation, I still prefer to read texts and it gives me sometime even more happiness than watching a visual. For example, take some specific movie song; when we hear as an audio we imagine our own picturisation of the same but sometimes, in the movie the visuals turn out to be damp. Same hold good for novels also; a successful novel when made into a movie, it may not have the same impact of the written medium. Visual and texts are two different channels which influence our brains and imagination. One can never be completely replaced by the other.
Wish the younger generation understands it and give due value to reading, honoring and understanding texts!