Friday, 31 March, 2023

Ekushey Book Fair abuzz with visitors on first holiday

Ekushey Book Fair abuzz with visitors on first holiday
Visitors browse through books at a stall of the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair at Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital on Friday. —Reaz Ahmed Sumon

The Amar Ekushey Book Fair drew a huge crowd on Friday, the first holiday of the month, with the inauguration of ‘Shishu Prohor’ (hours dedicated to children) amid mismanagement on the part of organisers.
Thousands of people of all ages, particularly the youth and children, flocked to different stalls and pavilions to find out books by their favourite writers. After the dusk, the whole fair venue from the Swadhinata Stambha area got a festive look with the presence of readers.
Sheikh Russel Shishu Chattar of the fair venue was abuzz with children since morning though the Shishu Prohor opened at 3:30pm and lasted till 6:30pm on the day.
With the arrangement of popular TV series Sisimpur, eminent author Dr Muhammed Zafar Iqbal inaugurated the event.
He urged the guardians not to give mobile phones to their children while eating and to keep their children away from mobile phones and other gadgets. He also asked the children to develop the habit of reading books.
When popular TV series Sisimpur’s characters Tuktuki, Ikri, Halum and Shiku appeared on the stage soon after the inauguration of Shishu Chattar, the children’s excitement grew up. They danced and took pictures with their favourite characters.
Guardians took them to different stalls and helped play various games and buy books.
Mahmudul Hasan, a private company employee, came to visit the book fair with his daughter on the day and bought a number of books for his nine-year-old girl Aritri Hasan.
Aritri said she took books on horror stories and detective stories and would buy science fiction novels as well.
Kader Babu, publisher of Babui, a publishing house dedicated to print children’s books, said that the Shishu Chattar and its adjacent area need to be cleaned. He said his house is bringing 25 new books for children this year.
The book fair was yet to get an organised look even on the third day of the fair. Construction and decoration work of many stalls and pavilions wasn’t completed. A number of publishers were still busy in bringing their books.
Khurshid Anwar Jasim, the publisher of Palash Prakashani, said late handover of stalls by Bangla Academy is a reason for mismanagement.
“This time Bangla Academy has handed over the stalls to the publishers late. Again, we are unable to bring books on the fair premises through pickup or any other vehicle. Therefore, we will require another day to decorate our stall,” he said.
He also said this year readers have been visiting the fair from the very first day and they are doing good business.
Bangla Academy has not fared well in ensuring a proper environment for readers. Many visitors complained to this correspondent about the extremely dusty environment.
“The use of sand to make walkways through the fairground contributed to the dusty environment. The oversight of the Bangla Academy officials on the issue of air pollution is particularly disconcerting given that air quality in the capital has remained a major concern in recent times,” said Shuporna Saha, a reader.
There was no move from the academy to sprinkle water on the ground or take any other step to control dust.
Besides, there was hardly any dustbin to keep waste at the Suhrawady Udyan part of the fair venue. Consequently, visitors threw different packets and leftovers on the ground, making the environment filthy. 

Asked about different complaints of the visitors, Member Secretary of Amar Ekushey Book Fair Committee Dr KM Mujahidul Islam said the atmosphere of the fair will return in a day or two.
“If any publishing house violates discipline, they will be blacklisted. We want to present a very beautiful and organised book fair to the readers. We will do whatever we need to do for that,” he said.
A discussion programme titled “Remembrance: Abul Mal Abdul Muhith” was held at the main stage of the fair at 4:00pm on the Bangla Academy premises. Qutub Azad presented the key note paper while Mohammad Jahangir Hossain, Jalal Feroz and M Abdul Alim discussed on the life and works of the former finance minister with Nuh-ulAlam Lenin in the chair.