Silchar, Nov 25: Book reading habit will not fade away despite the current internet surge. “At present, 38% people in India are using internet and the graph shows it will increase in the near future. Still I believe that book lovers will continue to nurture this noble habit. Books fairs have a long history. It was first organized at Germany, followed by London and Kolkata,” said Professor Jyoti Lal Chowdhury, senior jourlist and educationist of Barak Valley. He was addressing as the iugurator of Barak book fair 2016 which has began at Bipin Chandra Paul ground of this town, today. The 10-day book fair has been organized by Barak Upatakya O Banga Sahitya Barak Upatakya Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan, Cachar District Committee, in association with Publishers and Book Sellers’ Guild, Kolkata.
Using a metaphor, Prof Chowdhury said, “Book fair has become a winter festival which sends a simple message that people are still nurturing this habit. Residents of the valley should feel blessed that book fairs are conducted every year and it will continue,” he added to say. Book reading is a culture which will not fade away with the passing of time and he expressed hope that book fairs will not cease to exist in the future. Sharing an anecdote, he said, “At a book fair held at Guwahati, it was seen that Bengali people are buying Assamese books and vice versa. This is truly heartwarming and definitely sends a positive sigl.” He further said that people from different cultures and communities visits book fair and work of different authors are also found stalled. Book fairs are not only meant for buying books, but for gathering knowledge.
Dilip Kumar Paul, Deputy Speaker of Assam Assembly, who was also the chief guest on the occasion, said, “Book fairs are different from other fairs. I went to Ramkrish gar as they organized book fair for the first time. Books of worth 5 lakhs were sold there. But demonetization took its toll on Hailakandi book fair. I used to read books, but it ended when I plunged into politics.”
Taimur Raja Choudhury, president, Barak Upatakya Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan, Cachar District Committee in his iugural speech placed a few demands which comprise renovation of Bipin Chandra Pal ground on which the book fair is being organized and allotment of funds from the government for conduction book fairs. “We have sailed across many storms and turbulences and have been organizing book fair despite all odds. When Assam Sahitya Sabha organizes a book fair, they get fund from the government. But we have been deprived of this grant.” He added that cultural programmes, extempore speeches, discussion session on current and relevant topics would be organized daily evening till December 4. “We have decided to give coupons worth Rs.200 to each student participants in the extempore speech competition. Using the coupons, they can buy books of their choice from among the 50 book stalls,” he added to say.
Among others present on the occasion included Nitish Bhattacharjee, social worker, Dhinendra rayan Biswas, former president, Dipak Sengupta, joint-president, Gautam Prasad Dutta, general secretary, Paritosh Dey, secretary of Barak Upatakya Banga Sahitya O Sanskriti Sammelan, Cachar District Committee.