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11th Bangladesh Book Fair started in Kolkata

Manjit Sing

Bangladesh Book Fair – 2023 has started at College Square premises in Kolkata.

Bangladesh Book Fair – 2023 has started at College Square premises in Kolkata. The 11th Bangladesh Book Fair was inaugurated on Monday (December 4) afternoon, which will continue till December 13.

This time the fair is organized by the Bangladesh Sub-High Commission of Kolkata, Bangladesh Export Development Bureau and Bangladesh Knowledge and Creative Publishers Association. West Bengal School and Higher Education Minister Bratya Bose was present as the chief guest in the inaugural function. Bangladesh Liberation War Museum Trustee Mofidul Haque was present as a special guest.

Among others present were publisher and writer Tridivkumar Chattopadhyay, Sudhanshu Shekhar Dey, Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh Andalib Ilyas, Vice President of Bangladesh Knowledge and Creative Association Mazharul Islam and others.

This fair will run from 1 pm to 8 pm every day. 65 leading publishing houses of Bangladesh participated in this 10-day fair. Among them are Anvesha Publishing House, Ahmed Publishing House, Mawla Brothers, Anindya Prakash, Nalanda, Batighar, Ujan, Kathaprakash, Mawla Brothers, The University Press Limited, Kakali Publications.

Also, in memory of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the father of the nation of Bangladesh, a ‘Hridye Bangabandhu’ stall has been set up in the fair premises.

Apart from selling books, there are seminars, poetry readings and cultural performances every evening. Where artists from Bangladesh and West Bengal will participate. Bangladesh’s renowned artist Farida Parveen performed music at the opening ceremony.

It should be noted that the journey of Bangladesh Book Fair in Kolkata started in 2011 at Gaganendra Shilpa Pradashsala in Kolkata. After being held there for three consecutive years, the book fair was shifted to the open premises of Rabindra Sadan in 2014. Basically from that time the new dimension was added to the fair. It is not limited to books but it becomes a cultural gathering through seminars and cultural events.

After holding this book fair there for three years, the book fair was shifted to Mohr Kunj in 2017. After that, this book fair was held three times in a row till 2019. After that, due to the coronavirus, it was not possible to organize this fair in 2020, 2021. Finally, as the Corona situation has normalized, the Book Fair will be held in 2022 at the College Square premises of College Street, known as Boipara, Kolkata.

The demand for Bangladeshi books in Kolkata is increasing as a result of organizing these book fairs consistently for the past few years. Besides, the recognition of Bangladeshi authors is increasing and the market of Bangladeshi books is also expanding. So naturally, this book fair is of immense importance to the two Bengals.

At the opening ceremony of the fair, West Bengal Education Minister Bratya Basu said that it is not only politically but also culturally significant. Because Bangladesh government’s own book fair is also celebrated in Kolkata. We may have barbed wire, visas, passports but there is no difference in thinking or thinking.

Our culture, food habits are all the same. The only thing that could not divide us was the book. Moreover, I am really happy to have such a fair in a book neighborhood like College Street.

Bratya Basu also gave some kind of assurance about holding the Bangladesh Book Fair permanently at this college square premises in the future. He said that the fair was held here last year as well. It happened here this year too. So it must be assumed that this is a permanent place. According to him, it is better to have a fair here. It will be here in the future. I hope to always get cooperation from the Kolkata Municipality.’

Mofidul Haque, Trustee of Bangladesh Liberation Museum, said that the Bangladesh Book Fair started in Kolkata in a very small way. But today it increasingly demands to be placed on the cultural map of West Bengal and Kolkata.

Through this book fair, a range of publishers in Bangladesh is happening. Moreover, they complement each other. Because the publication of Bangladesh and West Bengal brings together Bengali literature, thinking and history practice. As a result, it is a win-win situation for both.

Writer Tridivkumar Chattopadhyay said, once the proverbial writer of Bangladesh Humayun Ahmed said that the people of Kolkata do not accept books written by Bangladeshi writers. But over the past 11 years, that picture has completely changed. One of the reasons is that the Bangladesh Book Fair is held in Kolkata, the second reason is the creation of the Bangladesh Pavilion at the Kolkata Book Fair.

The Bengalis of the other side were indifferent to the literature of Bangladesh. But since Bangladeshi books started coming here, the situation started to change. Now the interest, attraction and love of the people of West Bengal towards the books of Bangladesh has been born.

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