PM opens month-long Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela

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DHAKA : Bangla Academy raised the curtain on the traditional month-long Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today opened the fair on the Academy premises and at Suhrawardy Udyan.

Sheikh Hasina declared open the biggest annual extravaganza of millions of book-lovers at a colourful function held on the premises of Bangla Academy here this afternoon.

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′.

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.

At the outset of the function, a minute’s silence was observed as a mark of profound respect to the memory of the Language Movement martyrs.

“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 has been earmarked for the fair, Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan told BSS.

The Suhrawardy Udyan part of the fair has been decorated with 12 (Chattar) 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 at 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.

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