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The World of Books in Delhi

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(By..S.M)The 31st World Book Fair currently being held in Pragati Maidan, New Delhi is a veritable treasure trove of books on myriad subjects, from around the world. The fair organized by National Book Trust, India though centered around books of various genres, formats, colors, and sizes has several other events like Quiz Competitions, Story Telling, Panel Discussions, Roundtables, Talks, Spelling Bees, Book Launches and a host of such activities aimed at keeping the visitors constantly engaged. It is being held in the newly constructed Halls No. 2,3,4 & 5 of Pragati Maidan from 25.02.2023 to 5.03.2023. 

It’s most moving to see the youth of the Nation, including school children excitedly looking up titles and lapping up the contents of books. There is a melee of sorts amongst the usual bibliophiles, serious seekers of specialized information, researchers, parents, and publishers prospecting for new and vintage tomes. Such an illustrious congregation surely augurs well for India. The theme of Azadi ka Amrit  Mahotsav sits so well on the entire event. Books may have had a setback of sorts with progress in digital media and the internet but it still has a strong connection with people which is so difficult to replace. It was heartening to see the wholehearted participation of the organizers, stall owners, publishers and visitors in the major world happening taking place in India. The G 20 Group may also be meeting in New Delhi during this period but it’s the World Book Fair which has so much potential to bring forth new thoughts and leadership. 

When the News iP team visited the New Delhi, World Book Fair on Wednesday, 1st March 2023 there were a host of events scheduled. France which was the Guest of Honour Country with its pavilion designed by Bureau International de I Edition Francaise in collaboration with GALIS was resplendent in blue, white, and red the colors of the French Flag. The Hon’ble Minister of State for Education, Dr. Subhas Sarkar released a book – Dr. Mahendralal Sarkar at the theme pavilion. A Quiz Competition for students was organized by National Centre for Children’s Literature wing of NBT India at the Children Pavilion. A host of other events Magical World of Stamps, Explaining the Importance of National Monuments to Students, Indo- Spanish Literary Exchange et al were to happen. In fact, the list was so large that it was a bit overwhelming. Another notable event was the New Delhi Rights Table, a platform for publishers, literary agents, editors, and other publishing professionals. The event had publishers from 80 Countries participating.  The team could make out that the busy schedules and serious deliberations would indeed bring about an expansion of the B2B and B2C interactions and both the producers and consumers of published material would stand to gain. 

Source: Wikipedia

The NDWBF is being organized for the last 50 years and is a much looked-forward-to event in the national capital. Though there have been many changes over the past years, what struck the News iP team, this time around, was the explosion in the number of writers and small publishers. Due to the expansion of Social Media as well as the forced lockdown during Covid 19 pandemic,  the number of writers have grown exponentially and so have the publishers. This can only bring out the best for the writers and the readers. The present is the best time to put pen to paper, to type, to voice record, to read, to circulate;  our thoughts, feelings, and desires. After all, Adelise M. Cullens was right, “Reality doesn’t always give us the life that we desire, but we can always find what we desire between the pages of books.”

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