India's neighboring country, Bangladesh, shares profound cultural ties, fostering stronger connections through various cultural events. Kolkata kicks off the 2023 'Bangladesh Book Fair,' celebrating the literary exchange between West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Acknowledging the literary richness of West Bengal, the initiative by the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata has been nurturing cultural ties for several years, notably supporting the readers in West Bengal.
In collaboration with the Development Bureau, Bangladesh, and the Bangladesh Publishers and Booksellers Guild, Dhaka, the 11th Bangladesh Book Fair unfolds at College Square in North Kolkata, continuing until December 13, as revealed during the formal inauguration on December 4.
Notable attendees included West Bengal's Education Minister, Bratya Basu, and Mofidul Haque, Trustee of the Bangladesh Liberation War Museum. The event also featured Sudhanshu Shekhar Dey, General Editor of the Publishers and Booksellers Guild, Tridib Chatterjee, and Andaleeb Elias, the Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner in Kolkata.
Over the ten-day affair, 65 eminent publication houses from Bangladesh participated, including Anwesha Publications, Ahmed Publishing House, Maula Brothers, Anindya Publication, Nalanda, Batighar, Ujan, Kathaprokash, Maula Brothers, The University Press Limited, and Kakoli Prakashani.
Adding a poignant touch to the event, the 'Hridoye Bangabandhu' stall is established in remembrance of Bangladesh's founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Beyond book sales, the fair hosts daily seminars, poetry recitations, and cultural presentations, engaging artists from both Bangladesh and West Bengal. The inaugural day featured a musical performance by the renowned Bangladeshi artist Farida Parveen. Andaleeb Elias, the appointed Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Kolkata, chaired the opening ceremony.
West Bengal's Education Minister, Bratya Basu, expressed, "Books will endure, whether in the era of the internet or PDFs. Books will remain, regardless of the political landscape. As long as there is humanity, there will be books."
Mazharul Islam, Co-Vice President of the Central Committee of the Bangladesh Publishers and Booksellers Guild, emphasized that this unique book fair, in its 11th year, symbolizes the growing literary collaboration between Bangladesh and West Bengal.
Tridib Chatterjee shared insights into the Bangladesh Book Fair's history, tracing back to 2011, highlighting its significance in promoting Bengali literature and cultural celebrations.
Mofidul Haque, Trustee of the Bangladesh Liberation War Museum, noted the humble beginnings of the fair in Kolkata and how it has expanded, now occupying a significant place in the cultural landscape of West Bengal and Kolkata.
The fair, running from 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM daily, not only serves as a platform for buying books but also as a hub for seminars, poetry, and cultural exchanges, embodying the fusion of literature, intellect, and history between Bangladesh and West Bengal.