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Literacy, the lamp of knowledge

Jhumon Roy is a young man in his early 20s, who hails from a small town in Assam. He is a security guard who works long hours, seven days a week. But despite his busy schedule, Roy makes time to read. Be it newspapers, magazines, or short stories, Roy is often found reading in his free time. And not just reading. He also keeps an English dictionary at his disposal to learn new words and enrich his vocabulary.

Roy was 19, when he dropped out of high school as his family could not afford his education fees. In fact, they could barely make their ends meet. With no other option in sight, Roy had to leave his hometown and find a job to support his family.

Through his diligence, Roy has eked a decent living for himself, and for his family too. But his love for books still lingers in his heart. That is why, even today he reads books, to self-educate himself and expand his horizons. He has the seed of literacy within him that motivates him to learn and grow in life. One day, he wishes to become a graphic designer, for which he’s already begun reading books on the subject.

Isn’t it amazing how being literacy—the ability to read, write, comprehend and communicate—opens the gates of knowledge and wisdom? Whether at home or on the streets, in restaurants or at the workplace, knowledge follows a literate person like a shadow. And anyone who has the key of knowledge can open any doors of opportunities.

The transformation which education can bring about in an individual’s life and society is inspiring. Educated individuals are empowered, to not only change their own lives but also change their societies for the better by spreading knowledge.


Perhaps, it is as American author Dr Seuss once said: “The more you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”.

Being literate is certainly important. But is it enough? Gargi Kapoor, national manager of the Mission Education Programme at Smile Foundation says, “A literate person is well informed. He knows the facts and figures and even the moral values. But only an educated person applies the same in his life. An educated person is aware of his thoughts that pave way for well-measured actions, and actions produce ripple effect in the surrounding society. Thus, only an educated mind can be a harbinger of change in society.” In other words, education is the extension of literacy as it empowers a person to transform not only his life but contribute towards the society as well.

Take the case of Sahana for instance. Despite being born in a poor family, Sahana did not succumb to her fate. She not only resisted child marriage by going against her family but also continued studying and cleared her exams with flying colours. Eventually, the NGO spotted the spark in her and counselled her parents to allow her to pursue higher education. Today, Sahana holds a master’s degree in Hindi Literature from the University of Delhi and is a catalyst for change in the society. A teacher, Sahana now strives to make sure no child in her locality goes uneducated.

Indeed, the transformation which education can bring about in an individual’s life and society is inspiring. Educated individuals are empowered, to not only change their own lives but also change their societies for the better by spreading knowledge. This change is possible only when a person is literate. The more an individual hones their ability to read, write, comprehend and communicate, the better they would be able to illuminate their lives through the lamp of education.

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