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26th Silchar book fair begins



From our Special Correspondent
Silchar, Jan 3: 26th Silchar book fair begins from today to conclude on January 14. The venue of the book fair is Bipin Chandra Paul Sabhasthal near Circuit House of this town. After the lighting of the auspicious lamp by a host of dignitaries on the dais, the book fair was inaugurated by Kabindra Purkayastha, former Union Minister, as chief-guest. Other dignitaries present on the occasion included Atin Das, president of the book fair, a well known poet, writer, columnist and journalist, Nihar Ranjan Paul, secretary, besides Saurindra Kumar Bhattacharjee, Anju Endow, writer, Sunanda Nandi Purkayastha, Mibahul Islam Laskar  and Badal Dey. In his welcome speech, Atin Das said it augurs well to have Silchar book fair with the sole objective of giving an opportunity to the book lovers of the entire Barak Valley to have their books of choice in order to satiate their thrust for knowledge. It was also unfortunate to note, as he said, Silchar which was once known as the city of poets, literary discussions and little magazines has lost much of its aura. It was also a matter of concern that the rich and glorious Bengali language, the soul of this southern Assam, is also on decline.
 The craze for English medium schools, the modern trend among parents and guardians, is also playing a havoc with Bengali language. Atin Das said the process of decline is two pronged. One is self-imposed and the other under pressure. It is undeniable that the number of readers of Bengali books is also declining which cannot but be a cause of concern. According to him, a community finds itself paralyzed if its language is lost. It is also a matter of concern that book reading as a habit among all sections of people, particularly the school and college going students, is fast disappearing.
 Atin Das said more in despair that as people in general are becoming indifferent and callous to flock book fair, this annual affair is becoming loss sustaining. For organizers, it has become difficult even to pay the daily rent of Rs.2600 to the municipal board. Unless there is cooperation from all, the organizer might be compelled to close it down in future. It is an open secret that teachers and students are hardly seen in book fairs. The cause of such inertia is much discussed. Atin Das called upon teachers to come to the book fair and encourage their students to flock in large number and have their books of choice in different subjects.
 Kabindra Purkayastha and other invited guests in identical manner shared the same experiences and exhorted the book lovers to come in large numbers to keep up the tradition of this town of being a place of culture, language and literature. On the opening day, some of the book sellers and publishers with stocks of varied books on varied subjects from this valley, Tripura and West Bengal came up with their stalls. These are Haveli, Patitpawan, Akshar, Mullick Brothers, NE Books, Century Literature. More are yet to set up their book stalls.