Sunday, June 23, 2024

The book fair of ’72 is on the path of destruction in ’24

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The Amar Ekushey Book Fair is a source of pride for Bengalis. It was founded by Sree Chittaranjan Saha, the founder of the Independent Bangla Literature Council. The first book fair was held on February 8, 1972, with only 32 books displayed on a straw mat in front of the current house of Bangla Academy.

The following year, in 1973, Bangla Academy arranged for its books to be sold for seven days, and publishing houses began selling books in the courtyard. In 1974, the book exhibition was inaugurated by Professor Abu Mohammed Habibullah following the National Literature Conference of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Until 1978, publishers had no official identity as the organizers of the book fair, and no name was given to it. Only publishing houses were allocated space from the Bangla Academy in 1977. In 1978, the Bangla Academy took direct responsibility for the fair, and in 1979, the Bangladesh Book Sellers and Publishers Committee joined the Academy. Since then, the Amar Ekushey Book Fair has been held in the courtyard of the Academy.

Photo Credit: Jonayed Khan Simanto

The book fair takes place every year from February 1st to February 28th. Last year, 901 stalls were allocated to 601 institutions, but this year, 937 stalls have been allocated to 635 institutions. In 2024, 764 stalls were allocated to 515 institutions in Suhrawardy Udyan and 173 stalls to 120 institutions in the field of Bangla Academy, along with 37 pavilions.

The book fair showcases both old and new books, and new authors also participate. However, some readers are disappointed with the lack of educational value in some books, which can lead young people astray. They have requested publishers to prioritize books that help with education.

The book fair helps increase general knowledge, especially for students, and is considered a meeting place for writers, readers, and publishers. Ordinary readers have requested the Ministry of Education to ensure the educational value of the books sold at the fair, as the distortion of books could lead to the destruction of education and the country.

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