Book Fair begins, Pakistani stalls empty

The World Book Fair began on Monday promising a feast to book lovers, authors and publishing houses from across the world with the biennial event set to become an annual affair from this year.

On day one, five stalls alloted to publishers from Pakistan remained empty even as organisers assured that they had provided all necessary clearance for the week-long event.

The travel plans of the publishers were uncertain since they had not received visas. Of the eight stalls that had been booked by Pakistan, only three distributors were present on Monday at the fair.

“The rest of the participants have arrived in India and they have met me. We are hoping that they will be displaying the books in their stalls by tomorrow,” said M A Sikander, director of National Book Trust.

Distributors present at the book fair refused to comment on whether their colleagues can make it or not. “They were having some visa issues, but we exactly do not know whether they can make it to the fair or not,” said one of the distributors from Pakistan who did not want to be named.

“Their books have arrived from Pakistan, but we are hoping that they will arrive by tomorrow (Tuesday),” said a local representative of Pakistani distributor Manshurat.
Minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor inaugurated the book carnival.

“That growth of competitive intolerance in books, films and art is not a healthy trend. Exhorting the people who have reservation on such issue, should argue, debate rather than seeking ban on their display,” he said.

Seeking promotion of digital revolution in publication sector, he said it is a good idea and there is a great scope for writer to reach readers through this new media.

The fair being held for past 40 years and now a major calender event in the publishing world, will showcase 1,100 Indian and foreign publishers from countries such as Iran, Nepal Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the US, the UK, South Korea, Singapore Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Slated to end on February 10, the event’s theme this year is indigenous and folk literature with France being the guest country.

About 2,000 French titles will be put on display and acclaimed French authors Tahar Ben Jelloun, Kenize Mourad, and Dominique Siguad will be a part of their presentation.

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