DHAKA, Feb 01, 2017 (BSS)- Thousands of visitors of all ages flocked to the Amar Ekushey Granthamela- 2017 that began today on the premises of Bangla Academy and the Suhrawardy Udyan in the city.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fair at a colourful function this afternoon.
Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor presided over the function, while Director General of Bangla Academy Shamsuzzaman Khan delivered the welcome address. Cultural Affairs Secretary Begum Aktari Mamtaz and Bangla Academy Fellow and publisher Mafidul Haque spoke on the occasion.
Professor Dong You Chen, a Chinese researcher and translator on Rabindranath Tagore's works, Austrian Menfred Kebo, Luz Maria Lopez from Puerto Rica, German writer Tobaias Burghardt and Indian essayist Chinmoy Guha joined the inaugural function as the guests of honour.
Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, cabinet members, PM's advisers, noted writers, researchers, poets and publishers and fellows of Bangla Academy joined the function. On the occasion, she put signature on the "udbhodhani smarak" (opening memento) of the fair and visited different stalls of the fair.
The premier also inaugurated a four-day International Literature Conference 2017 and handed over prizes among the winners of 'Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar 2016'.
While speaking at the inaugural function of the fair, Professor Dong You Chen said, "Literary works of Rabindranath Tagore are not only for Bangla speaking people, these are also for whole mankind of the universe as his extra-ordinary creative works contain deep knowledge and messages for the well-being of the people."
The works of Rabindranath Tagore has reflected profound love for Bangladesh, he said adding, "He (Rabindranath) thought Bangladesh as his motherland. For this, he had written "Amar Sonar Bangla, Ami Tomai Bhalobasi"
Luz Maria Lopez said, "I am deeply touched with impressive creative works of Rabindranath Tagore. I want to know Bangla literature and culture. That is why I have come to Bangladesh as a participant of Ekushey Book Fair."
Chinmoy Guha said, "I am thrilled as a participant of this book fair. Bangladesh was born as a result of profound love and huge sacrifices for Bangla language."
Echoing huge love for Bangla literature, other foreign writers said this book fair could be an excellent platform for all people with different languages.
"Nirbachita Prabandha", authored by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, "Ocean of Sorrow", a translation of noted Bengali novelist Mir Mosharraf Hossain's famous novel "Bishad Sindhu" and "Hundred Poems From Bangladesh", published from Germany, a compilation of Bangladeshi poems published in Swedish language were handed over to the prime minister at the function.
Apart from Bangla Academy premises, around 400,000 square feet area on Suhrawardy Udyan have been earmarked for the fair, Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan told BSS.
The Suhrawardy Udyan has been decorated with 12 divisions. Some 663 units have been allotted to 409 institutions at the academy and on Suhrawardy Udyan premises.
Besides, 14 publication houses including Bangla Academy got 15 pavilions covering an area of total 6,000 square feet. Some 100 little magazines have been allocated spaces at the Little Magazine Corner, south side of Burdwan House on the academy premises.
Children corner at the Suhrawardy Udyan has been decorated gorgeously with colorful lightings and toys of children this year like the previous years. During the month-long fair, every Friday and Saturday will be observed as Shishu Prohor (children hour).
About the prices of books, the Bangla Academy DG said 30 percent commission will be given on books published by the academy while 25 percent commission on books published by others.
Two main entry gates have been erected at Teacher-Students' Centre (TSC) of Dhaka University and Doyel Chattar while three gates will be at Bangla Academy and eight gates at Suhrawardy Udyan as entry and exit points.
Stringent security measures, including closed-circuit camera surveillance, have been taken to avert any untoward incident during the fair.
Seven personalities have been awarded the Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar for 2016 for their outstanding contributions to their respective fields of literature.
The recipients are Abu Hasan Shariar (poetry), Shahaduzzaman (literature), Morshed Shafiul Hasan (essay and research), Dr Niaz Zaman (translation), Dr MA Hasan (literature on Liberation War), Noor Jahan Bose (autobiography/ memories/traveling) and Rashed Rouf (juvenile literature).
Each winner of the Bangla Academy award received Taka one lakh cash, a crest and a certificate from the prime minister.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)