By Zaidul Haque,
Kolkata: The 8th All India Urdu Book Fair garnered a business of Rs 24 lakh this year as against just Rs nine lakh last year. A draw of lots daily with laptop as a gift might be a possible reason.
The book fair that ended on Sunday, January 18 at Haji Muhammad Mohsin Square in Kolkata was organised by West Bengal Urdu Academy, run by Minority Affairs and Madrassa Education department of Government of West Bengal.
The Book fair were inaugurated by Member of Parliament Sultan Ahmed, on January 9 in the presence of state minister and other distinguished persons.
Beside the book stalls, the Urdu Academy had arranged quiz contest, recitation, gazal and also had a Food Court. This is first time that the Urdu Book Fair was arranged along with such programmes and facilities.
But an innovative idea that increased the sale of Urdu books, said chairman of All India Urdu Book Fair Dr Saba Ismail: said, “We gave a chance to book lovers to participate in a draw of lots if any one purchased books worth at least Rs 50.”
Saba Ismail said, “Last year, total book sale amount was Rs nine lakh. This year, it increased to more than double to Rs 24 lakh. Every evening, we held the draw for the lottery and handed over the laptop to the lucky one.”
Besides local publishers, Islamic Book World, Sirat Publications from Delhi, the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, Book World and Sahitya Academy were among the 35 publishers that attended the Urdu Book Fair.
The In-charge of the stall of National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language Sanjoy said, “Most of the selling book was School and college based.”
Not just from Kolkata, but lots of students from different districts attended the Book Fair. Saba Ismail said this was possible this year as the committee for the All India Urdu Book Fair decided to carry out a heavy campaign about the Book fair. “So, they put several hoardings about the Urdu Book Fair in the city and districts headquarters. Besides, media partners were made to spread the word. Urdu daily Akhbar-e Mashrique, Bengali daily Kalom, Urdu TV channel E-Tv were the leading media partners,” he said.
Regarding the Urdu Book fair, State Minority Affair and Madrassa Education Minister Giasuddin Molla said, “Without education, there will never be any development of the any community. To increase awareness for the Urdu language, the state government will take special initiatives, he said.
Chairman of Urdu Academy Professor Syed Manal Shah Al Qadri said, Urdu was adopted to increase the relation between other communities. State Government has taken initiatives to improve the status of Urdu language. among those initiative are Urdu Academy’s two campuses in Urdu speakers’ dominated area: One of them at Asansole of Burdwan and another at Islampur in North Dinajpur district.
State Chairman of Minority Commission Intaj Ali Shah, MP Nadimul Haque, MP Ahmed Hassan Imran, Nishat Alam, Athar Abbas Rizwi and many muslim personalities were present at the Urdu Book fair.
Dr Saba Ismail said, most of the books sold were about religion and drew mostly students.