The celebrations marking Pahela Phalgun, the first day of spring according to the Bangla calendar, added a new dimension to the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair, with young people, in colourful dresses, roaming the fair premises. Thousands of young people, the boys in traditional pyjamas and punjabis and the girls in yellow saris, crowded the fair and its adjacent areas, wearing jovial faces.
Besides the visitors, writers, publishers and stall attendants also observed the occasion with enthusiasm. The crowd on the day stretched from Doel Chhatar to TSC of Dhaka University.
Talking to New Age, the visitors said they had come to the fair to join the gala celebrations of Basanti Utsab, spring festival.
Bangladesh University of Business and Technology student Sharmin Haque from Mirpur in the city told New Age that she, along with her friends, came to the fair ground as per their plan to join the spring festival.
‘I have brought my children and wife in the fair to pass time together and buy some books today,’ said Azhar Mollah from Badda.
Tamanna Tanwy, who came with her friends in golden-coloured saris to the fair, said, ‘It is a special day for us as we regularly visit the fair on this day to buy books and celebrate Basanti Utsab.’
Genres of romantic novels, some collections of poetry of popular poets and juvenile literature sold well on the day, the stall attendants said, adding that the sale of serious books was frustrating.
Stall representatives of Agamee, Oitijhya, Adorn and Sanghati, among others, said most of the visitors just passed time or buy novels and poetry of popular authors.
Meanwhile the fair organising committee has closed the stall of Parabashi, selling books of expatriate Bangladeshis, for selling books published by other publishers.
The committee member secretary, Shahida Khatun, said the stall allotment was cancelled as the stall owner broke the fair rule.
A total of 118 titles hit the fair on the 13th day. Collections of poetry with 29 titles led the tally, followed by 24 novels and 14 story books.
Also 17 new titles were unveiled at Nazrul Mancha.
The academy held a discussion on ‘Kamruddin Ahmad: Samaj O Jibandarshan’, chaired by Akbar Ali Khan.
Mahbuba Nasreen read out the keynote paper in the programme that was also addressed by Muntasir Mamun, Muhammad Samad, Jalal Firoz and Ahmad Majahar.
They also observed a minute silence to show respect for the recently departed author Abdul Matin.
Today a seminar on ‘Tarashankar Bandapadhya’ will be held at the main stage of the fair.
Zakri Talukdar will read out the keynote paper in the discussion to be chaired by Hasnat Abdul Hye.
Rashid Haider, Abul Momen, Muhammad Shahid-uz-Zaman and Kanchan Kuntala Mukhapadhya are scheduled to address the programme.
-With New Age input