Kolkata, Jan 30, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio) Winter continues to spread its magic on the ambiance of Kolkata and the 37th International Book Fair was inaugurated on a cold windy Republic Day evening at the Milan Mela ground. The book fair this year will continue till the 10th of February. On weekdays it is opened at twelve in the noon and continue till eight o’clock at night. On weekends it remains open for an extra hour. This considerable duration ensures that book lovers from all over the state as well can enjoy the pleasure of buying books after spending enough on them.
Baul Singers at Jaago Bangla Stall
The focal theme this year is the nation ‘Bangladesh’. Professor Anisujjaman, an eminent educationist from Bangladesh inaugurated the book fair this year and Mamata Banerjee, honorable Chief Minister of West Bengal was the Chief Guest at the inaugural function.
The total area of the book fair this time is about 75330 square meters and the number of book stalls is as many as 568. In memory of late Sunil Gangopadhyay, an award (Sunil Gangopadhyay Memorial Award) of rupees one lakh will be awarded to the poet Bithi Chattopadhyay.
An intereting feature about the ground is that names of the lanes within the ground has been kept after eminent personalities. Vidyasagar sarani, Shibram Sarani, Buddhadeb Basu sarani, Michael Madhusudan sarani are some of those lanes. The six halls in the book fair ground have been named after the eminent personalities who have passed away recently. Indra Goswami, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Bhupen Hazarika, Syed Mustafa Siraz, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Humayun Ahmed are those great souls. Apart from the focal theme country, the other countries which represented themselves in the book fair includes USA, China, Vietnam, Turkey and Japan.
The book fair this year is focusing mainly on the 19th century Renaissance that was seen in Bangladesh and Kolkata. This is the reason why Baul singers have been seen performing at the Jaago Bangla stall to raise awareness among the people about the traditions and culture of the state. The Bangladesh stall also focused on the various aspects like literature, films, tourism, art, architecture which have led the country to a rebirth.
Kolkata Police Stall at Book Fair
A five day literary meet with eminent writers has been organized this time. Eminent writers like Amish, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Samaresh Majumdar will be present at the literary meet.
The recent rape incidents all over the country also have led many women activists to raise their voice by demonstrating and shouting slogans in the book fair ground. Young women with placards in their hands and slogans in their mouth are now a common sight in this year’s book fair. Seven universities including Calcutta University and Rabindra Bharati University have come out with thier stalls in the book fair. The number of little magazine stalls is two hundred this year.Management seemed to be doing a good job this year. Water packets have been kept ready to be supplied to the visitors. The food pavilion has been enhanced by adding more seats to it so that more people cans have their food comfortably after a long stroll at the fair.
The 37th Kolkata International Book Fair thus has a lot to offer to the visitors and and on the way to enhance its reputation as one of the greatest Book Fair of the world. Currently Kolkata Book fair is the largest Book fair of Asia and the second largest in the world, positioned only after Chicago Book Fair.
- Reporting by Priyanka Dutta (firstname.lastname@example.org)