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Books from Pakistan doing brisk sale at fair

Fostering India-Pakistan brotherhood through books: Pakistani stalls at the World Book Fair are faring well.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2006 16:30 IST

Buoyed by the response to their publications, publishers and booksellers from Pakistan at the 17th World Book Fair here are sure that books can foster the people-to-people bond with India.

And they plan to consistently feature in the event every year.

"Books will definitely promote mutual understanding among the populace of the two countries with common cultural moorings," said Syed Shaukat Ali of Iqbal Academy, Pakistan.

"The interest evinced by the Indian readers in books from Pakistan is a definite sign of improving relationship. I think participating in book fairs can be a tremendous confidence building measure between the countries," Ali, who hails from Lahore, told IANS.

"We are selling books on the subcontinent's pre-eminent poet and thinker, Iqbal, and the response is absolutely overwhelming. In four days I have sold over 75 percent of our collection. Next time we will come with a bigger collection," he added.

The ongoing World Book Fair here boasts of over 2,300 stalls with titles ranging from children's literature to scientific texts. There are around 10 publishers from Pakistan participating in this fair.

Said Mazhar Husain of the Oxford University Press, Pakistan: "Exchange of books and publications will help in dispelling misunderstandings and the younger generation can learn about our philosophy, history, politics and the cultural similarities."

Hussain is of the opinion that both the governments should not impose any kind of restrictions and custom duties on books and journals should be removed.

"Once such issues are addressed, the relationship between our countries and the people-to-people ties would touch new heights. Books, journals and newspapers of our countries should be available to the masses without difficulty," he added.

He said the biography of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and English-Urdu dictionaries were much sought after. The Urdu edition of 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' too was a draw for children."

Visitors at these stalls were keen to meet people from Pakistan and develop friendships.

"For me it's an opportunity to meet people from Pakistan. I think books can give a totally different perspective of Pakistan and help boost bilateral ties," said Waheruddin Saleem from Hyderabad.

"I have been coming to India for the last 10 years to participate in different book fairs and the response has encouraged me to come again. More than business, it's the love and affection of people that brings me back to this country," said Ahmed Ali of the Sheikh Mubarak Ali publishers.

"I think books can bring a sea change in our assessment of each other," he said.

First Published: Feb 02, 2006 16:30 IST