More than a book fair
The Amar Ekushey Granthamela-2015 is more than just a book fair. It provides visitors a little respite from the ongoing political violence in the country.
Centring the fair, the entire span of road from Teacher-Student Centre (TSC) to Doyel Chattar awakens to a mood of festivity where many people come to hang out with friends and families.
Though hawkers have been restricted from entering the road, barricaded on both sides with makeshift barbed-wire fences, many manage to get inside when the Ansar members relax their patrols and sell items such as toys, ornaments and small musical instruments.
Voluntary groups also get active surrounding the fair -- some try to raise money for their works, others engage in awareness campaigns.
Switch, a voluntary organisation formed by students of Dhaka University, the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, and Dhaka Medical College in 2011, is running a signature collection campaign against littering from February 8 with the slogan “Clean Bangladesh Green Bangladesh”.
“We also provided 10 bins inside Bangla Academy and our team visits the fair every day around 3:00pm to remove litter from the fair grounds,” said Moinul Faisal, a Switch volunteer.
Inside the academy premises which mostly contain children's publications, adults find entertainment in taking pictures, sitting by the pond or at the Little Magazine Chattar with friends to chat or eating at the canteen run by the academy staff.
The daily seminar and cultural programmes of the academy which starts at 5:30pm also awaken visitors' interests.
Besides, there is always the possibility of meeting a writer or poet at the Lekhak Kunjo or at the stalls and get their autographs and pictures.
This year Shilpakala Academy's initiative to hold theatre and street plays every evening at the Muktomancho inside Suhrawardy Udyan, only about 20 yards from the fair boundary, is an added attraction.