destination india

Thursday, January 27, 2005

news of interest regarding boi mela

Every year there is a theme and a celebrity is invited to inaugurate the Fair. I have been able to lay my hands on some of this information pertaining to the last seven years. If anyone can fill in the blanks, it will be worth preserving. I have searched the net but am unable to locate the missing information.

1999 – Hon’bl’e Prime Minister of Bangladesh Shaikh Hasina
2000 – Latin America
2001 – Mr. Pere Vicens, President International Publishers Association, Geneva
2002 –Ms Rita Rehman, Minister and Deputy Head of Mission, Netherlands, located in New Delhi
2003 – Cuba – Louis Toledo Sande, Cuban national award winning writer
2004 – Chile
2005 – France – Daniel Pennac, writer.


In 1983 there were 363 bookstalls. In 1995, this increased to 415 stalls and 125 umbrellas (to accommodate little magazines). In 2000, there were more than 700 publishers. Improvements are being continuously introduced to make it more attractive to the participants and visitors. In 1996, an air-conditioned hall was set up for conducting seminars, in 1998 a children’s pavilion was started and in 1999, an Indian pavilion named ‘ADDA’. Also, senior citizens are not required to pay any admission fees provided they carry with them proof of age.


And to end today’s session, a small sample of what Bengalis feel they are good at. I am a bit old fashioned. To me poetry must have some sort of rhyme, that is what sets it apart from prose -

Kolkata means Kalighat, Kolkata means Boi Mela
Only city in the World where you aren’t ever akela
Lonesome you’ll never feel once you enter the ground
Kalidas, Tagore and Ray all wait with jackets bound
Admission is open to each and every booklover
That is the slogan – ‘love books or just move over’.
All types and sizes of books yell for attention
Books are the only subject deserving special mention
Old editions spruced up alongside new paperbacks
In between we have the counters for tea and snacks
Meeting place for new gen kids free from mundane tasks
Eyes roving here and there searching for fancy masks
License to touch, browse or buy and enjoy the fair
Again it will reappear only after another year.

(to be continued…)


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