Kolkata International Book Fair 2017: Where Legacy Meets the Trendy

The history of the Kolkata International Book Fair dates back to the days when India was yet to come across metro railway, the days when e-books were still unimaginable, the days when online shopping was still a matter of improbability. Since those days the city has changed a lot. A number of bookstores have come up which has provided the booklovers an opportunity to choose from an array of latest released books as well as classics. However, all these have failed to cease the excitement round the Book Fair which for the first time was held way back in the year 1976.

The citizens of Kolkata attach a lot of romanticism and pride with the Book Fair. This feeling primarily originates owing to the fact that a number of eminent scholars have graced the event since its inception 31 years back. In the earlier days it used to be simply a gathering of the young booklovers and the few high-profile intellects. But with the passage of time The Kolkata Book Fair gained real momentum and has a lot to do with the thematic background of the event, thanks to the organisers – The Booksellers and Publishers’ Guild. The event generally kicks off from the last Wednesday of January and goes on for the more than ten days.

However, there has been no lack of controversy surrounding the Kolkata International Book Fair. There has been a considerable concern regarding the venue of the event when the Kolkata High Court ruled out any chance of holding the event at the Kolkata Maidan which had been the home of the event since its inception. And after a lot of drama the International Kolkata Book Fair shifted to the Milan Mela Ground which has been the home of the gala event for almost close to a decade now.

Like all the previous years we are having the Kolkata International Book Fair this year as well. And this time the theme of the event is Costa Rica. The Book Fair was inaugurated by the honrouable chief minister of West Bengal Smt. Mamata Banerjee on January 25 in the presence of Roxana Pinto Lopez, the Costa Rican author and vernacular author Nirendranath Chakraborty. Among the other mentionables, we had the Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh, Mr. Zokey Ahaad who opened the Bangladesh pavilion. The Book Fair will go on till February 5.

Coming to the other aspects of the Kolkata Book Fair 2017, it can be stated that it has grown in number as far as the number of participants are concerned. Way back in 1976, there were only 37 publishers which has swelled up to 700 by now. A few more than 500 stalls and little more than 200 little magazine outlets have been set up for the booklovers to explore. The numbers clearly have enhanced and the promise is there for further enhancement. And it could be traced even in the words of the Guild secretary Tridib Chatterjee who has been quoted saying, “It’s been a long journey through fire, literally… much has been achieved, much is left to be done…”

Argha Ghosh

About Argha Ghosh

An ardent follower of sports and die-hard Manchester United fan, Argha's ultimate dream is to watch a Manchester derby from the Stretford End at the Old Trafford.


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