Amar Ekushey Book Fair on Tuesday witnessed a big crowd despite the dawn-to-dusk hartal enforced by Jamaat-e-Islami. Though the fair premises was almost empty of visitors when it opened at 3:00pm, the scenario just reversed within a couple of hours, when people poured into the fair ground in their hundreds.
The fear of violence by the Jamaat-Shibir men to ‘make their hartal successful’ hardly had any effect on the fair.
‘The hartal has failed to prevent the book lovers from coming to the fair. Our apprehension about low turnout of people due to the hartal has proved wrong,’ Gatidhara publishing house stall attendant Shafiullah Rahat told New Age.
Ekushey Bangla stall representative Md Alamgir Hossain said people started swarming into the fair ground and within few hours of the opening the fair premises were packed with visitors.
‘The crowd today is better than that of the previous day, the hartal eve, because of the tight security measures,’ said Ridam Prakashani stall attendant Nashid Mustari Nowshine.
She said, ‘Political unrest did not affect the fair so far as I have seen. But, on the whole, the fair is yet to be at its peak as it is just the beginning.’
Palal Prakashani salesman Shahin Alam said those residing near the Bangla Academy and Dhaka University areas were the first to rush to the fair.
Talking to New Age, the visitors said they had thought that they would get a quite and calm environment in the fair on the day to choose their favourite titles but the situation was quite the opposite.
‘I have come with my family as I thought the fair would be empty of crowd,’ said Md Bayzid, who resides in the Dhaka University areas.
The fair organising committee member secretary, Shahida Khatun, told New Age that hartal or other political programmes would not affect the fair.
‘The fair will continue as usual,’ she said, hoping that the fair would also be held successfully in the days to come.
Meanwhile, a total of 75 new titles hit the fair on the day. Collections of poetry led the tally with 18 books, followed by 15 novels, eight collections of juvenile literature and seven story books.
Eight new titles were also unveiled at Nazrul Mancha.
The academy at its main stage held a seminar on ‘Dr Muhammad Enamul Haq-er Sarathshar’ on the day. The Bangla Academy director general, Shamsuzzaman Khan, chaired the programme.
Muhammad Daniul Haque read out the keynote paper in the discussion, also addressed by Manusr Musa and Rahman Habib.
Today, a discussion on ‘Dejendra Lal Roy-er Shardhashatatama Janmabarshiki, to be chaired by Sanjida Khatun, will be held at 4:00pm. Khaled Hossain is expected to read out the keynote paper.
Mahibul Aziza, Saoumitra Shekhar and Shahadat Hossain Nipu are scheduled to address the discussion.
A cultural function will be held later on.
-With New Age input