Russia is the ‘Guest of Honour Country’ this year at the book fair as Government of India has declared 2008 as the Year of Russia in India. The Russian Pavilion has more than 2,000 titles from about 200 publishers, introducing Russian language, history, culture and literature.
With an aim to “renew relations with India”, the Russians are conducting a lot of activities apart from exhibition of books, and also to familiarise Indians with many things Russian.
Drawing/painting competition for children, discussions with eminent Russian writers (in English), performances by Russian national dance and music groups are few of the activities showcasing Russian arts, culture and traditions.
At the counter ‘Information Technology in Education’ at the pavilion, R Sahu said, “With this IT counter, we want to show that any and every kind of education is possible with the help of IT.” The counter, apart from exhibiting programmes, sells educational CDs too.
The main draw is of course the books.
According to personnel manager at the pavilion Alexander Voropaev, most of the books are in Russian, with a few translations in Hindi and English. There are books for beginners also, he said.
Mini and micro books of various topics are also very popular. Then there is an exhibition on ‘Travel in Russia’. However, there is a catch. None of these are for sale.
Asked 20-something Jamia student Ayesha, “But why have you not put up books for sale?”
Ayesha, who has been training in Russian for last three years, rued, “These are such wonderful books but they are not selling any of these.”
“You can buy all these books online, for which we can provide information,” pat comes the reply from Voropaev.