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12 January, 2021 07:55:35 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 12 January, 2021 07:56:51 PM
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Reconsider decision on Ekushey book fair

Spending some time at the fair with the family is a very enjoyable thing. Many publications have already received manuscripts from various authors. Therefore, the book fair should be held on a limited scale without closing it completely.
Majhar Mannan
Reconsider decision on Ekushey book fair

Millions of readers, publishers and writers eagerly wait for Ekushey book fair to fulfill their dream. Celebrating Ekushey book fair in February has become a vital part of our culture. Our national spirit, heritage, tradition, and culture are deeply related to the book fair. Many poets, writers, playwrights, storytellers, and novelists present their creative writings at Ekushey book fair and think of earning from the fair. The official launch of Ekushey book fair started in 1983 and it continued till last year but this year it is going to be the first push due to Covid-19. According to the newspaper report, the book fair will not be inaugurated on the first of February. The book publishers want that book fair should start from 1 March instead of February earlier, the publishers had offered to hold the book fair from February 18 to March 17 and the initial decision was made. But in the end, considering the Covid-19 situation, Bangla Academy has moved away from this position. According to the ministry of culture, due to the current Covid-19 situation, it is not possible to hold a book fair in February in physical presence. The book fair has been postponed for now and when it will be held depends on the Covid-19 situation.
People in different places including social media are expressing their views on the new announcement of the book fair. Writers, publishers and readers say, Ekushey book fair is not just a matter of selling, it is also a matter of spirit. Book publishers are facing severe financial crisis and pressure due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Book publishers are in dire straits as schools, colleges and universities are closed. They dreamed of doing some business at the Ekushey book fair but it will not be fulfilled due to the postponement of the fair. To keep the wheel of the country's economy running, the government has already opened shopping malls, mills, factory, offices and courts. Even other entertainment centres including cinema halls, have been opened for visitors. Some argue that since the recreation centres, industries and offices are open, so there is no problem in running the book fair. However, some people think that Covid-19 virus is likely to spread quickly from the book fair. The students are confined in their house as the educational institution has been closed for a long time. If they had the opportunity to come to the book fair, they could have breathed a sigh of relief. Many authors and publishers have already published their new books on the occasion of the fair. If the fair is not held, they will face huge losses. Looking at the pictures of the streets of Dhaka and the crowded condition, it does not seem that Covid-19 exists in the country. It is conceivable that the fair is a large gathering place from where Covid-19 can spread but it is possible to create social distance and hygiene there.
It is normal to have more Covid-19 cases in winter. But after winter this trend will decrease and there is hardly problem with the book fair being held in mid-March. The book fair may be held on the same grounds on which the office, courts and recreation centres were opened. Due to outbreak of Covid-19 virus, there was a plan to make the 2021 book fair virtual or online. But no readers, writers or publishers responded to this virtual book fair. Then it was decided that the book fair would be held according to the traditional rules. The publishers wanted the book fair to be held from 18th February to 17th March. The Bangla Academy also made preparations for organizing the book fair. Bangla Academy held discussions with publishers on allotment of stalls at the fair. The publishers requested to reduce the rent of stalls or pavilions and provide incentives.
In fact, every year the book fair creates dreams among readers, writers and publishers. Through this book fair, the creative works of the writers are evaluated. Recreation centres are now overcrowded and book fair may not be crowded compared to this. If the number of stalls in the fair is reduced, there is no chance of becoming crowded. Besides, it is known that Covid-19 vaccine will come to the country very soon. In that case, it seems that the risk of Covid-19 will come down even more. Entertainment centres have been opened and there are ample opportunities for recreation at the book fair. Spending some time at the fair with the family is a very enjoyable thing. Many publications have already received manuscripts from various authors. Therefore, the book fair should be held on a limited scale without closing it completely.

The writer is a teacher at B A F Shaheen College, Kurmitola, Dhaka Cantonment. The opinion expressed in the article is the writer’s own.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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