Amar Ekushey Book Fair
Falgun, the first month of the festive Spring season and the eleventh month in the Bengali calendar, will be welcomed Tuesday and will also be celebrated on the same day as Valentine's Day, which has been a tradition in Bangladesh since 2020. The second largest celebration in the Bengali calendar year, Pahela Falgun meaning Falgun 1st, used to be celebrated on February 13 every year; however, it was merged with Valentine’s Day in 2020 when Bangla Academy revised Bangla Calendar to align it better with the Gregorian calendar. Welcoming the king of all the six seasons which breathes the life back into brings vibrant sunshine and mild heat in the weather after the short-lived Winter season in the country, the nation is ready to greet the first day of Falgun amid colourful festivities and yellow-red festive attires. Read More: Budget-friendly Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day Keeping pace with the rest of the world, Bangladeshis will also celebrate Valentine’s Day with their beloved ones, a day symbolising and celebrating love among their beloveds. Although the added festivities of Pahela Falgun brought a new and refreshing tone to the day, netizens especially the youths have been observing the day for the last couple of decades now. Different organisations and businesses will be celebrating this festive February 14 with multiple festivities this year, marking the return of grand in-person celebrations after three long years of battling with the Coronavirus pandemic and its aftermaths. The tradition of celebrating the Pahela Falgun in Bangladesh started in the Bengali calendar year 1401. Since then, the Jatiya Bawshonto Utsab Udyapan Parishad has been celebrating Pahela Falgun regularly with colourful cultural festivity at the Bakultala of Charukala (Dhaka University Faculty of Fine Art) in the morning every year. Read More: 10 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Wife Although the Parishad could not arrange the regular festivities in 2022 due to the pandemic, this year the organization will observe the Pahela Falgun festivities in Charukala Bakultala at 7 am and 3 pm with two different seasons. It will also host similar festivities in the afternoon on the open stage at Uttara Rabindra Sarani and Bahadur Shah Park in the capital. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) will organise a special cultural event at its Nandan Mancha at 4pm. The event will feature musical performances, recitations, dance recitals and choreography of Spring-themed Bengali fashion; however, it also obligated the female festival-goers to must wear flower garlands and males to wear flower garlands in their hands, which infuriated many netizens on social media as they believe such events should not make such obligations. The ongoing Amar Ekushey Book Fair at Bangla Academy and Sohrawardi Udyan already observed an influx of crowd on Monday, the long-standing usual day of Pahela Falgun in the past; and the book-sellers and fair authorities are expecting an even bigger crowd on Tuesday amid the festivities. Read More: Tracing the Roots of Ekushey Boi Mela.
The longest-running Amar Ekushey Book Fair concluded in the capital Thursday. The 31-day fair is estimated to have sold books worth Tk52.50 crore. Traditionally held throughout February every year at the Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan, the fair's 2022 edition started on February 15 after a pandemic-induced delay. Jalal Ahmed, director of the Bangla Academy and member secretary of the Ekushey Book Fair Committee, presented the sales report of this year at the closing ceremony.
Bangla Academy has organized a three-day special screening of Piplu Khan directed Bangladeshi independent historical docudrama ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ at the ongoing Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2022 on Tuesday. Marking the closing days of the fair alongside the occasion of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s 102nd Birth Anniversary, the special screening began at 6 pm on Tuesday at the Bhasha Shahid Muktomoncho, Bangla Academy premises in the capital. The special screening will again be held on Wednesday, March 16 at 6 pm and Thursday, March 17 at 7:30 pm at the same venue. A docudrama on the life of Bangladeshi Prime Minister and the daughter of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ‘Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ was premiered at Star Cineplex, Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in the capital on November 15, 2018, and also was internationally released at Star Cineplex on the following day. An extensive 5-year-long collaboration between the Centre for Research and Information (CRI) and Applebox Films, the docudrama stars Sheikh Hasina as herself in the title role alongside her younger sister Sheikh Rehana as herself, also both as narrators. READ: 'Hasina: A Daughter’s Tale’ to be aired on television on her birthday Described as a riveting story of the daughter of Bangabandhu out of a tragic backdrop by the filmmaker, the film covers and refers to the assassination of the Prime Minister's father along with most of her family in 1975 and the aftermath of the situation. Debojyoti Mishra, an internationally acclaimed Indian music composer and film director, has composed the musical score for the film which is produced by CRI trustees Radwan Mujib Siddiq, grandson of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, alongside Nasrul Hamid, state minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources.
The government has extended the duration of the ongoing Amar Ekushey Book Fair, originally scheduled to end on February 28, until March 17, said State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid on Sunday. “The government has taken the decision due to improvement in Covid situation. The publishers and writers also demanded time extension of the book fair,” he said at a press briefing at the Secretariat. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave an approval to extend the duration of the book fair Sunday morning, said Khalid. Read: Ekushey book fair yet to gather momentum “We are monitoring whether health guidelines are being properly followed at the book fair and there is huge crowd at the fair,” he added. On February 9, KM Khalid said if the Covid-19 situation improves, the government will consider the time extension of Ekushey Book Fair, 2022. Amar Ekushey Book Fair began on February 15. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fair after joining its inaugural ceremony at the Bangla Academy virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban. This year’s fair is being held on the Bangla Academy premises and its adjoining Suhrawardy Udyan in the city. Read: PM inaugurates Ekushey Book Fair-2022 The month-long book fair is arranged every year in February commemorating the sacrifices of people who laid down their lives on February 21, 1952, for establishing Bangla as the mother tongue. The traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair began informally in 1972 on Bangla Academy premises; however, the academy officially took the responsibility to arrange the fair regularly, every year since 1978. It was then named 'Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela' and a guideline was laid out in this regard in 1984.
Bangla Academy has started its all-out preparations to hold the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair, one of the most sought-after events for the booklovers and writers, at it will kick off on February 1. “Bangla Academy has started its preparations for the book fair and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate it,” member secretary of the Book Fair Committee Dr Jalal Uddin told UNB. "This year's fair will be a special one, we’re decorating the fairground considering the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s Independence,” he said. Also read: Ekushey Book Fair: 3 publishing houses awarded for using bKash Indeed, the main theme of the upcoming book fair is Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh, Dr Jalal added.
This year’s Amar Ekushey Boi Mela (Book Fair) is unlike anything the country has seen. There are stalls and books but hardly any visitor and people willing to buy books. A recent surge in Coronavirus cases and subsequent clampdown by the government to contain the transmission have only complicated the situation for the publishers who say they are counting huge losses every day. It is especially hard for small publishers. The Bangla Academy went ahead with the fair ignoring recommendations of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Salespersons at the fair said that there was hardly any sale. Most people are here for visit, not to buy books, they said. “This edition lacks the vibe and lustre of a regular book fair,” one of the salespersons said. “The usual crowd of visitors, writers and publishers is missing. The sale has been frustrating.” Also read: Boi Mela to be open for 3.5 hours a day due to COVID-19
The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has recommended to stop the ongoing Amar Ekushey Book Fair as the country is seeing a massive jump in daily cases. It has also proposed to halt all types of social events and shut other recreational centres to curb the spread of coronavirus. At its meeting, the committee also recommended increasing ICU and Covid-19 ward beds at Dhaka hospitals to deal with the increasing stream of patients. Also read: Covid-19: Bangladesh records highest-ever daily cases, 59 deaths It welcomed the 18-point directive issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and emphasised formulating a specific action plan in this regard. Boi Mela hours curtailed The surge in coronavirus cases forced the Book Fair management to cut short the daily operational hours. Also read: Boi Mela to be open for 3.5 hours a day due to COVID-19 Currently, the fair remains open from 3pm to 6:30pm daily. Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh Bangladesh recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases on Thursday when the health authorities confirmed 6,469 new infections in the last 24 hours. Also read: Restriction on gatherings, quarantine rule among PMO’s 18-point directive to contain Covid surge The infection rate also jumped to 22.94 percent from 19.9 percent on Wednesday.
The daily operational hours for the ongoing traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair has been changed due to the recent surge in COVID-19 infection rate across the country and the capital. The new schedule says that the fair will remain open to the book-lovers from 3 pm to 6:30 pm, three and a half hours a day. Also read: Bangladesh reports record number of 5,358 new daily Covid cases; 52 deaths Bangla Academy, organiser of the month-long traditional fiesta, announced this on Wednesday. The notice was announced via a press release signed by Aparesh Kumar Banerjee, director of the public relations department of Bangla Academy, saying, “In consideration to the recent spike in the Coronavirus infection rate, the schedule of Amar Ekushey Book Fair has been changed from 31 March, 2021. The fair will start at 3pm every day and close by 6.30pm, effective from Wednesday.” Also read: Book fair gradually gains momentum Originally, the traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair followed the time schedule of 3 pm to 9 pm in the month of February, and 11am to 9 am on holiday and weekends.
The Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2021, the country's beloved Boi Mela - which commenced almost 46 days after its scheduled time due to the Covid pandemic, is yet to draw a large number of book buyers even six days in. Sales personnel said visitors are roaming across the fairgrounds and browsing titles and showing curiosity about new arrivals but there were very few buyers. Publishers and sales executives said the hot and humid weather with occasional thunderstorms in March-April is unsuitable for book lovers, especially children and the elderly, to visit the fair. Read Books VS Kindle: Which Is Better For You? Dipannita, sales executive of Tamralipi Publications, said the fair is yet to gain momentum. "Bookworms are not coming that much due to the hot weather,” she said, blamed lack of promotional campaigns behind the low turnout of buyers. Kausar Ahmed, a senior sales executive of the stall, said: "Although we are not selling books as per our expectation, we are still hopeful as people are coming amid the Covid-19 infection surge." Also read: Curtain falls on Ekushey Book Fair Md Robin, a sales executive of Genius Publications, said: “Although today is the sixth day of book fair, we are yet to see the expected number of booklovers. Those who are visiting today are only roaming around the fair premises, not buying books.”