Bookworms in the Capital can rejoice as the New Delhi World Book Fair, organised by the National Book Trust (NBT), India, in association with India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), will start on Saturday at the Pragati Maidan.
The fair will run till January 15 and will be open to public from 11 am to 8 pm for the first eight days, and until 5 pm on the closing day.
This year’s theme is ‘Manushi’. The fair will celebrate women writers and writings about women. It will also feature special pavilions dedicated to NBT’s journey through 60 years of its existence, books for children, and international literature.
Prominent writers and scholars such as Kailash Satyarthi, Hemant Singh Katoch, Omair Ahmad, Vikram Kapur and Vipul Mudgal, among others, will be available for interactions during the book fair. Photo exhibitions by the delegation of the European Union (EU) which examines the lives of the Indian diaspora in Europe, and by the Embassy of People’s Republic of China which explains the Chinese New Year, will also feature at the fair. Other highlights this year include film screenings based on Shakespearean plays by the British Council.
NBT chairman Baldeo Bhai Sharma said if reading habits are on the decline in the country, it is not because people are any less in love with books and reading, but because of other factors like lack of access and high costs associated with books, according to Sharma.
Addressing the high costs associated with books, Sharma said they have spoken to publishers and distributors participating in the fair to try to offer books at discounted rates. “We will also facilitate cashless transactions and digital payments, and have made arrangements for ATMs, including a mobile ATM, to ensure that business is not affected in the wake of demonetisation,” said Sharma.
The ITPO has also collaborated with BSNL to ensure better network connectivity at the fair, so that digital transactions can happen with ease.
Entry is free for senior citizens and children in school uniforms. “We have discussed free entry passes with ITPO, because it is unfortunate that people will have to pay to enter the fair, where they come to buy books,” said Sharma.
ITPO general manager SR Sahoo said they were considering issuing free passes from next year. “General entry tickets will cost Rs 30 for adults and Rs 20 for children below 12 years of age. These are the Pragati Maidan entry charges,” he said.
The fares are Rs 10 higher than what they were last year because entry charges to Pragati Maidan were increased, not just for the book fair, Sahoo clarified.
The fair will be inaugurated by Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey, minister of state for human resources development (higher education), on Saturday at 11 am.
Dr Pratibha Ray, a Jnanpith Awardee and Odia writer, will be the guest of honour. 0Tomasz Kozlowski, ambassador of the delegation of the European Union to India, will also be present as a special guest.
FIND OUT WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR YOU AT NAKSHATRA 2017
Visitors to the book fair can also try to find out more about their future at ITPO’s annual astrology event Nakshatra. The event will run from Saturday to January 15 at Pragati Maidan between 11 am and 8pm.
ITPO executive director Shubhra Singh will inaugurate the event which will focus on astrology, vastu, palmistry, numerology, Feng Shui, among others.
Seminars on astrology, geopathic stress, ayurveda and Jyotish Vastu Healing have also been scheduled.