Kolkata Book Fair celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore

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No entry fee for visitors, solar lighting arrangements, celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, seminars, children pavilion, theme pavilion – the Kolkata Book Fair was a winning concoction. Here’s more on the fair. Kolkata Book Fair Organized by the Publishers & Booksellers Guild, the 35th edition of the International Kolkata Book Fair 2011 was successfully held from January 26 to February 6, 2011. This year’s fair was not only international but also carried an important historical significance. This was because on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel Laureate immortal poet Rabindranath Tagore to whose memory the Fair had been dedicated, there was no entry fee of the visitors. Each and every booklover visiting the fair was gifted a pocket calendar with a photograph of Rabindranath Tagore as a memento. Over 1.6 million booklovers gathered in this 12 days book festival and the books worth Rs 16 crore were sold at the fair. Noted Pulitzer Award winning writer Richard Ford of USA inaugurated the fair. The Hon’ble chief minister of West Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was the chief guest while the guest of honour was the noted author Atin Bandyopadhyay and the special guest was the ambassador of USA to India, Timothy J Roemer.

This was for the first time that the Little Magazine Publishers in Little Magazine enclave had been given space at a prime position in the fairground free of cost. Another first was the solar lighting arrangements made in the fairground. Also, there were solar battery operated vehicles for the benefit of the aged and the disabled visitors to the fair.

The five halls in the fairground had been named after Acharya Prafulla Chandra, Debabrata Biswas, Shantideb Ghosh, Mother Teresa and Suchitra Mitra. Separate zones were set up in the fairground for the convenience of the discerning readers, which included religious literature, universities and educational institution zones, Hindi and neighbouring literature zones.

Talk shows centered around Rabindranath—AAMAR RABINDRANATH (Tagore in my life) were a major crowd puller. Celebrities from the field of cinema, music, dance, drama, painting and literature spoke about the influence of the poet in their lives. Among the celebrities were Ranjit Mallick, Swagatalakshmi, Mamatashankar, Lopamudra, Goutam Ghosh, Chaiti Ghoshal, Anindita Kazi and Sunil Ganguly, Sirshendu, Samares, Suchitra Bhattacharya and others were present and participated in talk shows.

Apart from these seminars, International Kolkata Book Fair 2011 had three international lectures— Asoke Sarkar Memorial Lecture delivered by Richard Ford, Pulitzer Award winner American Novelist, Supriya Sarkar Memorial Lecture delivered by the world famous American scientist Dr Mani Bhaumik and Sushil Mukherjea Memorial Lecture delivered by the noted author Akhil Sharma, USA. A three dimensional laser show hosted by USA was held each evening in the Fairground where glimpses of American culture were displayed. Other attractions included Montemarte (art village) open air auditorium, the Children’s Pavilion ‘CHELEBELA’, the Tagore Pavilion in the Fairground. While, the Theme Pavilion was a replica of the Capitol Building in Washington D.C. The Theme Gate was a replica of the Library of Congress building, USA. The other gates were replicas of Jorasanko Gate, India Gate, Charminar Gate, Gateway of India and the Thakurbari Museum. The Tagore Pavilion was a replica of the Rabindranath Tagore’s memorial building of Bangladesh — Sahajadpur Kuthibari. The 36th International Kolkata Book Fair 2012 will be held from January 25 -February 05, 2012.

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