Odisha News Insight

Feast for Book Lovers of Odisha at Rajdhani Book Fair

DSC01715Bhubaneswar has grown in the last few years to carve a place among the top Educational centres of India.  Students from all over the country converge here to pursue their line of Education . Keeping in view the requirement of books for students, teachers, general readers as well as libraries, the Rajdhani Book Fair was set up in the Millennium Year-2000. By its 15th edition, which is currently on, the Fair has become the numero uno Book Fair of the state with ever increasing popularity. The present edition , being held from 4th to 15th of December, is seeing an average footfall of 50,000 persons a day. This is a very encouraging sign at a time when gadgets , gizmos and technology have swamped everything to the extent that book reading pleasure is fast diminishing in many places across the world .

During the period of Book fair, the committee invites the leading literary organisations of the state to conduct literary meetings, discussions, seminars, symposiumDSC01717 and conferences in the very auditorium of the Book fair, constructed exclusively for this purpose. The eminent writers, publishers & intellectuals are invited to deliver their valuable speech and a number of interactive sessions between writers and readers is  organized in the course of the Fair.

Since 2005, the Book Fair Committee have had been engaged in collecting the information about Odia publications published from the year 1802. It has now been published in the form of a large volume of  about 700 pages, namely “Oriya Pustak Prakashan Suchi”, which is a reference book for libraries, research scholars, students as well as general readers. This book is available at a very nominal price in the ongoing Fair.
The Committee decided to launch the 1st Rajdhani Book Fair at Exhibition Ground in the first week of December,2000. A formal invitation was sent to every publisher but the first Invitation went to Lord Jagannath  at Puri. And interestingly enough, the gesture was reciprocated. A letter from the Temple Administration was received requesting to allot a stall for the better interest of Lord Jagannath. The organisers were inspired by the letter and a stall was duly allotted in favour of the Lord at the entrance of the fair. The Temple Administration erected a dummy of Sreemandir with Arun Stamba & Hundi in front of the same.  FrDSC01710om that year, the Temple administration have been participating every in the Fair with Chaturdhha Murty i.e. SriJagannath, SriBalabhadra, SriSubhadra & SriSudarsan. Every  year new ‘vesas’ of the Lords are made and installed to impress the devotees of Lord Jagannath.

In this year’s edition too, a stunning  prototype of the Mandir greets one at the very Entrance to the Fair. This year the deities are adorned in the Bada Singhar vesa. Inside,  books on the tradition, culture and history of Lord Jagannath and his Temple  are on sale  and it is a huge attraction for everyone coming to the Fair.

People from  the cross section of the society and from all age groups are visiting the Fair every day. Publishes from 10 states including Bengal, UP, Bihar , Rajasthan and New Delhi   are participating in the Fair along with their Odia counterparts. Books in English and Hindi are drawing in as much people as local literature and fiction in Odia. This year the focus is mainly on Odiya literature and local publication houses. A large number of literary works of Odiya writers such as Gopinath  Mohanty, Manoj Das , Nityananda Mahapatra, Pratibha Ray, Sarojini Sahoo and Surendra Mohanty  are on sale at the Fair.

Apart from the renowned ones, a good  number of works by young writers are also available. The books range from Odiya classics and short story collections to books on poetry and children’s literature as also famous folk tales. Kiosks dealing in Odia books and literature have been given prominent location at the Fair. Of the 600 stalls, over 450 are of local publishers and booksellers. The young authors are interacting with veteran writers at the Fair. Eminent authors like Ramakanta Nath, Haraprasad Das and Tarun Kanti Mishra , among others , were seen at the Fair interacting with and motivating young authors. That local Odia writing and literature is still in big favour is understood  from the fantastic  response, both in terms of attendance as well as brisk business, these stalls are getting.

One can see good many heads at places and stalls which are offering books at reduced prices. Apart from attracting bibliophiles, the Fair has also become a hub for antique item collectors who are seen buying books that are no longer available in the market .Different schools and Educational institutions are organizing activities and competitions for the children and the students on a daily basis. Around 20 new books will be released at the Fair this year and at least 12 writers will be honored and felicitated in the course of the Fair.

Yes, it is that time of the year when all roads in Bhubaneswar are leading to the Book Fair.

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