He also wanted the youngsters to take a pledge for reading and also encourage others, adding a well read generation would help India grow. "There can be no joy greater than reading and no friend greater than knowledge," he said. "The youngsters have the capacity to make a better society and nation, and together we can once again make India a land of wisdom and knowledge," the Prime Minister said.
He also appealed to people to give a book instead of bouquet while greeting.
Lauding Kerala's achievements in the field of education and literacy, Modi said the southern state has been a "torch bearer and inspiration" to the country in this regard. Kerala is the first in the country to become cent per cent literate state. The state also has the distinction of being the first to attain 100 per cent primary education, he said.
Modi also recalled the contributions of citizens, social organisations and religious leaders in the state's achievements in education.
"Kerala's success in education could not have been achieved by governments alone. Citizens and social organisations have played an active role," he said. Reading and knowledge should not be limited to expectations of work. We should develop the habit of social responsibility, service to the nation and humanity, he said. "It is said that a literate woman can educate two families, but I say two generations. Kerala has set an example worth emulating in this regard," he said.
P N Panicker was the driving spirit behind the library network in Kerala through Kerala Grandhasala Sangham (Library Association) with 47 rural libraries in 1945.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)