27th New Delhi World Book Fair, organised by National Book Trust, concluded at Pragati Maidan on January 13 with the message that books are still alive & kicking
The nine-day New Delhi World Book Fair concluded on January 13, 2019 with a huge number of book lovers buying books. Being Sunday and also the last day of the Fair, largest number of people visited the Fair. “I had planned long back to buy some particular books on last day because the publishers offer more discount on the last day. So, I visited the Fair along with my family and purchased 28 books from various stalls,” said Smt Sunita Jain, a school teacher, while talking to Organiser. When asked why she purchased printed books as most people now prefer reading books in digital form, she said, “I don’t know how many people love to read books in digital form, but I still enjoy reading books in printed form only.”
The National Book Trust organises the Book Fair every year at Pragati Maidan and it was the 27th edition of the Fair. The Book Trust claimed that over the past few years, the number of book lovers visiting the Fair has grown substantially, which reflects the fact that the habit of reading has not diminished. The book fair this year was a huge success with over nine lakh book lovers visiting. Though the visitors had to face problems because the construction work going on in Pragati Maidan and the space for the Fair this year very limited. The credit for attracting a good number of people to the Book Fair and making this festival of books more attractive and interactive goes to its chairman Shri Baldevbhai Sharma who over the four years has introduced some innovative ideas to make this annual event a big hit.
The Theme Pavilion ‘Books for Readers with Special Needs’ attracted the attention of book lovers, especially persons with special needs. This pavilion exhibited panels, posters, useful materials and over 500 books for persons with special needs. During the Fair, several programmes including discussions, interactions with differently-abled celebrities were organised. Many visitors appreciated this year’s theme and observed that the theme sensitised people about the various issues related to persons with special needs. The stall by TouchVision at the Pavilion attracted a large number of people. It works for the persons with visual impairment. It is a multisensory inclusive education platform comprising of tactile diagrams, books, recreational material, storybooks, games, assisted by simultaneous audios powered by the mobile app.
The Author’s Corner in Hall no. 8 and Lekhak Manch in Hall no 12, provided an opportunity to the readers to meet the writers. The ‘Shabd Utsav’ organised on Lekhak Manch almost all days discussed various contemporary issues by inviting experts from various parts of the country. Goa Governor Smt Mridula Sinha joined the discussion on January 12. Similarly senior advocates Smt Monika Arora and Shri D. Bharat Kumar and Director General of IIMC Shri KG Suresh discussed some issues. A discussion on different aspects of literature and culture of Himachal Pradesh was organised on January 13.
Though, the visitors had to face problems following massive construction work going on in Pragati Maidan this year, over 9 lakh people visited the Book Fair On last day, a bustling crowd of children participated and enacted various enthusiastic performances at the Children's Pavilion in Hall No. 7E. The event started by a play on the importance of girl child education. The children brilliantly portrayed the current situation of our society towards girl child and how it has become a grave matter of concern. A street play was staged by the children of Chetna India on pollution. In their play, they enacted different forms of pollution that harm the environment such a radiation, air pollution, etc. The Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art and Literature organised a storytelling session for the children. Dr Gauri Shankar Raina and Dr Usha Kher talked about the beauty of Kashmir and the most revered poetess of Kashmir ‘Lal Ded’. The speakers read some of their poems in Kashmiri language and explained each verse in English to the children.
Inaugurating the Fair on January 5, Union HRD Minister Shri Prakash Javadekar said: “The world of books is unique. Books have their own fragrance and to appreciate it, we need to read books. Reading is part of our culture and the desire to read books has never been less.” He said with the growing presence of Kindle and audiobooks the number of people who read printed books, has not diminished and the number is increasing day by day. He said reading books brings new ideas, imagination and dimensions in life.
This year Sharjah was the Guest of Honour at the Fair. Shri Javadekar said more than two million Indians have made UAE their home which shows that the cultural ties between the two countries have grown over the years. “As a member of Executive Council of Emirate of Sharjah, the body which translates the vision of His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah. I am honoured to be here today to celebrate another significant milestone. We are all here today at New Delhi World Book Fair, a major calendar event in the cultural and publishing world", said H.E. Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan al Qasimi. He further said: “We are excited today to turn this opportunity into a memorable and cultural event, straight from the heart of Sharjah and UAE for all the book fair participants and visitors.”
He added that book fairs are essential platforms that allow us to share our intellectual property and to learn from both cultures and strengthening relations. NBT chairman Shri Baldeobhai Sharma said although technology has become an integral part of our life, printed books are very close to the hearts of the readers. The number of people visiting the book fair shows that books still attract readers. He also talked about the diverse nature of publishing programme of National Book Trust. He said the NBT publishes books in over 40 major Indian languages for readers of all age groups. He hoped that the book lovers would get an opportunity to read books in over 20 Indian languages at the Fair. He remarked that book lovers wait for the New Delhi World Book Fair for the whole year as they are able to find out those books which are not easily available.
Dr Rita Chowdhury, Director of NBT said: “Across societies, we all worship words in some way or the other. And wherever the words are worshipped, it becomes the place