MNA Editorial Desk: The much-awaited month-long book fair “Amar Ekushey Granthamela” begins on the Bangla Academy premises and extending into the Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fair and a four-day international literature conference which was attended by prominent litterateurs from Austria, Germany, Puerto Rico, Malaysia, Russia, China and India.
The fair will remain open for 30 more minutes daily than the previous years. It will remain open for all from 3:00pm to 8:30pm on workdays, 11:00am to 8:30pm on holidays, and 8:00am to 8:30pm on February 21.
This year, Bangla Academy and 409 publishing houses already have taken their preparation to greet thousands of bookworms of different ages on the Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises.
Ekushey Book Fair is the national book fair of Bangladesh which is arranged every year for the whole month of February. This event is to commemorate the historic language movement of 21 February 1952 for the establishment of Bangla as one of the state languages.
Bangla Academy has been arranging a month-long book fair in its premises every year since 1978. Immediate after achieving the independence of Bangladesh, on February 21, 1972, Chittaranjan Saha, owner of Muktodhara Publishing house started selling books with a little preparation under the banyan tree in front of Bangla Academy.
Later, other publishers also joined with him. In 1984, it was named ‘Amar Ekushey Book Fair’ officially. Gradually it became the most popular book fair of the country.
Not only the renowned publishers of the country, but also the booksellers of different countries like India, Russia, Japan and some other country’s publishers participates in the fair with their books. Many Governmental Institutions of Government of Bangladesh like Bangladesh Tourism Board, the Bangladesh Archeology Department and some others participate in the fair with stalls.
Some Non-Governmental Social Institutions also participate in the fair. Nowadays some digital publications such as CD, VCD takes place in the fair. Besides, many mobile operator companies come into the Fair with the description of their services.
The Ekushey Book fair has become one of the major cultural festivals for the Bengalis, a way to celebrate the rich and varied literature that our Bengali language boasts. Every year, the Fair launches a host of books by various authors, both up and coming authors as well the established names.
It has become a permanent feature in the national calendar. It is therefore the responsibility of every Bengali to maintain the sanctity of the occasion in remembrance of the supreme sacrifices made by the Bengalis in the month of February to protect our mother tongue. We wish the Book Fair a great start and a fruitful month-long journey.
One of the major goals of Bangla Academy is the spread of learning through the publication of books. It has diffused learning by motivating other publishers to keep on adding new books before the commencement of the Immortal Ekushe Book Fair each year.
In 2000 UNESCO declared 21 February, as International Mother Language Day for the Member-States to celebrate each year as recognition of our dedication to safeguard our mother language. Since then the international community has been joining us annually in remembering our language martyrs. We have shown to the world the prominent and enduring value of each mother tongue.