New Delhi World Book Fair: the Kumbh of knowledge

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The beginning of the New Year is special as New Delhi World Book Fair 2018 is here to entice the book lovers. Here, Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, National Book Trust (NBT), India, shares more about this book extravaganza in conversation with Varsha Verma. New Delhi World Book Fair (NDWBF) 2018 is scheduled to be be held from January 6-14, 2018 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. Organized by National Book Trust, India, an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, the show is co-organised by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), under the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.

Baldeo Bhai Sharma, chairman, National Book Trust (NBT)“New Delhi World Book Fair is a Kumbh of books. It is the largest book fair in Afro-Asian region. Book lovers from not just Delhi and NCR but all over the country wait for one year and come to this book extravaganza. The books, which they cannot find anywhere, can be found at the book fair. So, it has a big role to play in the circulation of books amongst the masses. It also has a big role to play in the promotion of book culture. It has now expanded a lot. Earlier, it was a biennial show but now it is an annual show since 2012. Book lovers come to this fair in large numbers and there have been a lot of developments in terms of the services and facilities provided,” tells Sharma. “In last two years, the number of footfalls to this fair have been more than 12,00,000.“

Guest of honour– European Union

“Instead of having just one country as guest of honour, we have European Union, which represents 27 countries, which will be the Guest of honour at NDWBF 2018. There will be a delegation from these countries,” shares Sharma. “We hope that NDWBF will see representations from 30 different countries”

Theme of NDWBF 2018: Environment & Climate Change

“Theme of the NDWBF is a big attraction amongst visitors. This time Environment & Climate Change is the theme. We will have an elaborative exhibition on this theme and books published on this theme by various publishers in different languages would be displayed here. Indian vedas have talked about environment and its conservation and this will be depicted on panels at the exhibition. The entire exhibition will look like natural environment. Our team for theme is working towards it,” tells Sharma.

“There is a need for awareness about environment and its protection amongst the youth of today. India is a country which has always given a message to conserve environment, right from the ancient times,” he adds.

Children Pavilion…

“Children pavilion will be another major attraction and all programmes related to children will be conducted near Children pavilion so that children can find the books easily,” he adds.

Better infrastructure & facilities…

Even though Pragati Maidan is under renovation, all efforts are being made to make NDWBF experience better than the last. “It will be an integrated fair. ITPO has assured that they will provide world-class facilities for the fair,” shares Sharma. “It will be spread over an area of 30,000 sq m. As there is renovation going on in Pragati Maidan, hangars would be installed to accommodate the publishers.”

“Last year, when NDWBF was organized, demonetization had taken place. So, we tied up with lot of banks and publishers so that book lovers do not face any problem in buying the books of their choice. So, digital payment options were available there,” he adds.

Teamwork wins…

“We are proud to say that NBT, India team successfully organises and manages the NDWBF efficiently, without any event management agency. They work day and night to make this event the best,” he adds. “Our team is very enthusiastic about this fair and they work together as a team to make this fair a success every time. It is like an annual show for us and we all try our best.“

Sharma also credits publishers and media for making this event a big success. “Publishers participate in a big way in the show and media has always been kind to spread our message across all,” he adds. Besides, the efforts of Metro and of course ITPO also cannot be undermined. “So it is a collaborative effort.”

Message for readers…

“People should inculcate good reading habits as books are our best friends and help to live life to the fullest. They teach us life’s lessons, besides giving knowledge. Parents and guardians should try to give children good books to read. They should be encouraged to read books other than textbooks as well. If we want our children to live happily, we should give them books that inculcate values in them because it is the books which make an individual human. So, I ask all book lovers and children to come to NDWBF in large numbers and take a dip in this Kumbh of Knowledge,” concluded Sharma.

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