The love of reading has to be instilled in children at a very early age. And the best way to do this is by providing easy access to books. My father was an avid reader and he had a good personal collection of fiction as well as non-fiction, all in Gujarati. That was how I was introduced to the world of books.
Sandeep's post about the Vijaynagar empire and Madhava Vidyaranya instantly took me back to my childhood. Because I remember reading the Vijaynagar series of historical novels by GunvantRai Acharya. Harihar, Bukka, Madhav and Sayana are larger than life characters for me. And I have always been fascinated by the lone Hindu Empire that sprung up in the south and defied the Muslim conquerors constantly trying to expand their foothold in the south, for two and a half centuries.
What is even more remarkable about this empire is that although it sprang out of a need to protect the Hindu way of life, it was not intolerant of its Muslim subjects. And in fact, quite a few were employed at the courts and in the armies, especially of the later rulers.