Saturday, February 17, 2018

EKUSHEY BOI MELA : The National book fair of Bangladesh

Ekushey Boi Mela is the national book fair of Bangladesh. It is arranged each year by Bangla Academy and takes place for the whole month of February in Dhaka. This event is dedicated to the martyrs who died on 21st February 1952 in a demonstration calling for the establishment of Bengali as one of the state languages of former East Pakistan.

Muktodhara Publishing House under the initiative of Chittaranjan Saha had started a little sale in front of Bangla Academy on 21 February 1972. Later, other book publishers joined there. Bangla Academy took over charge of the Fair in 1978. In 1984, it was named Amar Ekushey Book Fair. Apart from book selling, the literary and cultural events are also organized there. The visitors gather at Nazrul Manch, a corner dedicated to Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Besides, many go to Lekhok Kunjo, a dedicated place for writers. In fact, this book fair is the cultural reunion of Bangladesh which is attended by every person who is related to book publishing and writing. In 2014, the authorities extended the territory of the Fair up to Suhrawardy Udyan to accommodate a huge number of visitors.

Ekushey Boi Mela started merely as a book fair; it has now evolved into a national cultural festival reflecting the cultural spirit of the modern Bengali nation. In addition to book sales, Bangla Academy organizes literary and cultural events every day.Baul and other folk songs are presented to the amusement of the gathering. Discussions on literature and culture are also held throughout the month of February. Famous writers and intellectuals deliver lectures to enlighten the audience. In one stage programme, Ekushey Padaks are handed over to recipients amid the presence of the top intellectuals of the country. There is no entry fee. Publishers of Bangladesh take year-long preparation to publish a huge number of books during this month. Around 500 publishers take part in this historical fair every year. The venue of the book festival and outside is decorated with banners, festoons and placards in conformity with the spirit of martyrs.

No other country can boast the annual tradition of a month-long book fair, held with such fervor at such an important venue in the capital -- the book fair makes Bangladesh unique, and in a good way. Visit Ekushey Boi Mela to get the taste of rich Bengali culture, history and mark the glory of a civilized & educated nation.

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