A 16 days-long Ekushey Book Fair started in Pabna with the slogan ‘Smell of books, Subodh Jaguk Prane’. The book fair was inaugurated on Monday night at Swadhinata Chattar in Pabna town.
Ekushey Medal recipient Pabna’s two sons, heroic freedom fighter journalist columnist Ranesh Maitra and former Member of Parliament advocate Golam Hasnain inaugurated the book fair by hoisting the national flag to the tune of national anthem.
President of the Book Fair Celebration Parishad Zakir Hossain presided over the discussion meeting organised on the occasion.
Advocate Shamsul Haque Tuku, Member of Parliament for Pabna-1 constituency spoke as the chief guest. Habibur Rahman Swapan, general secretary of the parishad gave a welcome speech.
Pabna zila parishad chairman, acting president of Pabna district Awami League unit Mohammad Rezaul Rahim Lal, Nagarik Manch president Idris Ali Biswas, newly-elected Pabna municipal mayor Sharif Uddin Pradhan, Pabna University of Science and Technology’s former vice-chancellor prof Dr. Anwarul Islam, president of the Bar Association advocate Belayet Ali Billu, Sultan Ahmed Buro, Nasir Chowdhury, writer Aftab Ali and others spoke at the event.
Chief guest Samsul Haque Tuku said, ‘Books are our true friends. And book fairs are a part of Bengali culture. The largest book fair is being celebrated in this larger district after the capital Dhaka. He lamented that in the current age of Facebook and internet, the youth are moving far away from reading books and children do not want to read books. They just sit with the net. Book reading is coming down to zero.’ He also said Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has established Bangla Academy for literary creation, thousands of libraries, he has worked for the idea of establishing Sonar Bangla, drug free, terror free society, since then his worthy Kanna has been working to take this country forward. The language movement started with the arrest of Bangabandhu in 1948. At the end of the inaugural discussion, the guests unwrapped several new books.
According to the organisers, the exhibition of rare books will run simultaneously with the book fair. Readers and visitors can buy books as well as get acquainted with historical books.
Books will be discussed in the fair from every evening. Readers of different classes and professions including teachers, lawyers, journalists, doctors, cultural activists and students of different schools and colleges will take part in the discussion. Apart from this, there will be unveiling of new books by the writers of the district, cultural programmes and dramas. At the same time, Golam Hasnain, the recipient of this year’s Bangla Academy Literary Award, was honored.
A total of 44 stalls have been allotted in this year’s book fair. The fair will run every day from 3 pm to 9 pm. The holiday fair will start from 10 am. Everyone has to come to the fair wearing masks and following the hygiene rules.
Due to the Corona situation, the book fair started in March instead of February this year.
Later, local artists performed songs in a pleasant cultural program.
The book fair will conclude on March 16.