The curtains will fall on the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair today after a month of significant turnover of new and old editions of titles that gained the attention of booklovers.
At least 202 new books hit the fair on Tuesday taking the number of new titles to 4,336 available at the bookstalls, according to the fair information centre sources.
Among the new arrivals, huge number of writings on the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his family members, especially the prime minister Sheikh Hasina, were brought out by almost all the publication houses participating at the fair.
Bangla Academy officials and prominent publishers, however, told New Age that most such publications were below standard.
Publishers like Bangalee, National Publications, Anyadhara Publications, Banalata, Jalachabi, Babui, Saptabarna, Aleya, Shila Prokashani, Sahas, Charcha Grantha Prokash, Abir Prokashan, Sristi Prokashani, Bibhas, Avra, Ekattar, Nabarag, Chayabani, Amar and Prapti have published titles on the Sheikh family.
Most of these have been written by amateur writers, former and present government officials and pro-Awami League activists.
Some publishing houses were even absent from fair premises.
Bookstalls of pro-AL youth, student and research wings also put such titles on their displays.
Poetry, novels, essays and short stories were the genres written on Mujib’s lone lead during the country’s emergence, his daughter’s role in upholding ‘pro-Liberation War’ political ideologies and Sheikh family’s sacrifice for the nation.
As UNESCO recognised the historic 7th March speech of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as part of the world’s documentary heritage, a number of titles had focussed on the topic.
National Publications has published three titles written by Anu Mahmud including Bangabandhur 7 e Marcher Bhashon. In the book, Mahmud wrote 133 essays praising the historic speech.
Bibhas has brought out Shiekh Hasina Bishwa Nari Netritter Adarsha, authored by Netrokona-based Islamic writer Mawlana MA Rahman.
‘Hundreds of poetry titles on Bangabandhu authored by amateur poets were also on display,’ said BA director general Shamsuzzaman Khan.
He said that little-known writers and poets with some capital have passionately written on Bangabandhu and Sheikh Hasina, during the book fair.
He added that the academy has no authority to control such writings.
Academic and Creative Publishers Association of Bangladesh’s former president Osman Gani told New Age that seasonal publishers were bringing out low-quality titles on the country’s founding president and his family members.
On Tuesday, a protest rally was held at the academy premises demanding fresh investigation into the attack on writer Humayun Azad.
Under the banner of Lekhak-Pathak-Prokashak Forum, discussants said that delayed trial of the incident had encouraged further attacks on freethinkers.
On February 27, 2004, unidentified assailants hacked Humayun with sharp weapons when the writer was leaving the book fair premises around evening. He was found dead in Munich, Germany on August 12 that year.
The discussants suspected that Humayun was killed in Germany by his assailants.
Professor Anwar Hossain, Abdul Mannan Chowdhury, poet Muhammad Nurul Huda, publisher Osman Gani and fair organising committee member secretary Jalal Ahmed addressed the rally.
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