Ekushey Book Fair
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The Ekushey Book Fair or Amar Ekushe Grantha Melā (Bengali: অমর একুশে গ্রন্থ মেলা, lit. 'Book Fair of immortals of the 21st [of February]' [ɔmɔr ekuʃe ɡrɔntʰɔ mæla]), popularly known as Ekushey Boi Mela (Bengali: একুশে বই মেলা [ekuʃe bɔi mæla]) 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 21 February 1952 in a demonstration calling for the establishment of Bengali as one of the state languages of former East Pakistan.
Muktodhara Publishing house started a little sale in front of Bangla Academy in the 21 February 1972, the Shaheed Day, later International Mother Language Day. Chittaranjan Saha of Muktodhara took the initiative. Later, other book publishers joined unofficially. Gradually it became official and the most popular book fair in Bangladesh.
Bangla Academy took over organization of the fair in 1978. In 1984, it was named 'Amar Ekushey Book Fair'. Notably in 1990s, another national book fair called Dhaka International Book Fair was initiated. This book fair is organized by the government in December every year.
Boi Mela started merely as a book fair; but in course of time, it has 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 fair-day. Thousands of people gather to purchase books and spend time with the company of books and their authors with a patriotic zeal. There is no entry fee. Publishers of Bangladesh take year-long preparation to publish a huge number of books during this month.
In 2008, 362 book stalls were set up by publishers, book sellers and such other organization including Bangla Academy and Nazrul Institute. The venue of the book festival and outside is decorated with banners, festoons and placards in conformity with the spirit of 'Amar Ekushey'. It is the cultural reunion of Bangladesh where nearly every writing-related person comes. Attracted by discounted price (25% to 32%), readers rush there. Given the importance, generally head of the government inaugurates the fair on the first day of February. TV stations live broadcast the inaugural ceremony.
Usually, the fair continues from 1 February to 28 February. It takes place in Bangla Academy premises and Suhrawardi Udyan. The Ministry of Culture is in control of the fair while the Academy does the groundwork. Usually the Prime Minister (or the Chief Adviser in case of caretaker government) inaugurates the fair. Between 300 and 400 publishing houses take part in the fair. Only the Bangladeshi booksellers can join who have at least 25 books of their own.
There is Nazrul Moncho, a corner dedicated to poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, a fixed place for month-long cultural meetings, a Lekhok Kunjo, a dedicated place for writers and, a media center for the journalists. Free WiFi service has been enabled since 2019. Nowadays it becomes harder to accommodate the huge crowd and the increasing number of publishers. In 2008, the theme of daily conference was 'Bengali Literature and Culture - Achievement of three decades'.
Ekushey Boi Mela 2008
Ekushey Boi Mela 2008 was held from 1 to 29 February 2008. As many as 288 publishers participated. A record number of books were published on the occasion. According to official statistics, the number of books published in connection with the book fair was 2578. The sale proceeds from books sold shot up to a record of Taka 200 million.
- Bangla Academy
- http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/search_index.php?page=detail_news&news_id=24088 Ekushey Book Fair begins today
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- "The Financial Express - Financial Online Newspaper".