We should be thankful we can read

There was a time when people used thumb impressions instead of handwritten signatures. Learning to read and write ensured they could have their own signatures. Signatures created an identity for individuals, so much so that we often remember signatures of celebrities.

Lakshmi Kothaneth –
lakshmiobserver@gmail.com –

Oman celebrated the Environment Day as well as the Arab Literacy Day on January 8. It’s a great combination of knowledge and environment.
While the importance of reading has been emphasised in religious teachings, not everyone had an opportunity to learn the art of reading and writing. In Oman, within the third year of Oman’s renaissance, the initiative was launched to eradicate illiteracy.
There was a time across the world when people used thumb impressions instead of handwritten signatures.
Learning to read and write ensured they could have their own signatures. Signatures created an identity for individuals so much so that we often remember signatures of celebrities.
Signatures became collectors’ items and the autograph book you carried in your bag during the school days was just not a trend, but a longing to keep the memories of childhood friendships forever. But we were definitely impressed with those who had attractive signatures.
But signatures are authoritative and carry great value in documentation. Paintings by artists of yesteryears have all that value because of that signature stroke or the initials. Signatures have become brands and gone on to become popular labels.
All that is possible if only you can read and write.
Signature often becomes your identity. Do you remember the time one used to sign in and sign out at work? The books invariably would be at the manager’s desk. Late-comers used to dread walking in and sign the book.
Signatures were a daily affair. But we should not once think thumb impressions are outdated because here we are with biometrics, and fingerprints are all important once again.
So gone is the ink, maybe even the paper, if the digital world is to take over at the rate it should. Then, the paperless economy is to stay. Proof of all that is the way elections are conducted these days. Paperless would also mean good news for trees on the earth.
Omani Women Association in Seeb has been producing recycled paper since three months and if it is to expand its production and come into the mainstream, that is an option many people would adapt.
Caring for earth is not just a fashionable statement anymore. Many have seen the consequences of neglecting the needs of earth. From cutting down trees to polluting rivers and oceans, even when we know it’s part of the food chain.
A friend said today, “I recently went to Rwanda and found the place was exceptionally clean. It turns out the president of the country on the last Saturday of every month orders the closure of roads from 6am to 11am in Kigali. This is to minimise traffic pollution. This is the time the locals clean their surroundings and the neighbourhood.”
This goes to prove how much importance is given to traffic pollution. That is also like the effectiveness of the announcement of a fine that is to be slapped if one is caught throwing trash out of a moving vehicle. But do we really need a law to make us care for the environment?
That is some food for thought and here is to knowledge and environment.