Book lovers with an interest in the art, culture and history of neighbouring Bangladesh had a reason to cheer on this past week. A six-day Bangladesh Book Fair was inaugurated in Kolkata on October 25, hosting 30 book stalls. The fair was put up at the Rabindra Sadan premises till October 30.
Organised by the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission in Kolkata in collaboration with the country's Bureau of Export Promotion and Gyan O Srijonshil Prakashak Samiti, the fair showcased an impressive collection of tomes – novels, poems, short stories, articles – by the country's writers. West Bengal Education Minister Partho Chatterjee, who was present at the inauguration, said an initiative is being taken where poets from Bengal and Bangladesh will collaborate to come up with a book.
Shreyoshi Bandhopadhay, a visitor to the book fair, said that such initiatives help bridge the gap created by borders. "This type of cultural exchange will always help in bridging the gap that had been put up by the fences," she said. Another visitor, Sukumar Singh, said Bangladesh and West Bengal have similar culture and habits. "Both the Bengals have a very good relationship because the languages of two Bengals are the same, the cultures are the same, food habits are the same and even their literature reading is the same. If we have the Bangladeshi and Bengal together, we are all together and we enrich ourselves, equally.”
Like last year, this year too, Humayun Ahmed turned out to be the best-selling author. He is widely considered as one of the greatest Bengali-language writers, and is a legend in Bangladesh.
This annual book fair is an effort to bridge the gap between the two countries. The previous editions of the fair had received great response from the people as well.
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