Legendary master blaster Sachin Tendulkar is helping the ongoing 10-day National Book Fair on zilla parishad grounds in Dhanbad pick up pace after a slow start.
Organised by Palamau Book Fair Committee, the event, which started from November 29, has started drawing crowds from December 1.
Fifty publishers from all over the country are taking part in the fair, prominent ones being Geeta Press, New Sadhna, Lokmitra, Jivika Prakashan, Vijay Books, Sarvodaya Books and Pratiyogita Sahitya.
In all, 40 kiosks have been set up on the fair grounds with at least one lakh books in languages such as English, Hindi, Urdu, Sanskrit, Santhali and Khortha up for grabs.
But the stall drawing the maximum crowds, is the one selling books on Sachin Tendulkar, who recently retired from all forms of cricket.
The fair organisers have also started a signature campaign for the cricketing legend. “Our target is to gather 51,000 signatures during the fair and send it to the Little Master as a token of the coal town’s affection towards him,” fair director Ashish Ranjan Dixit said.
Another unique feature of this year’s mela is an exclusive kiosk for writers in and around the Coal Belt.
“We want to promote local talent and hence have given them a platform,” Dixit added.
Faizan Ali, a writer from Loyabad area of Dhanbad, whose creation titled Piya, priced at Rs 25, is flying off the shelves, said: “My book, which is both in Hindi and Urdu, deals with Sufism and talks about a student’s love and respect for his guru (teacher).”
Ali also thanked the organisers for providing writers like him the opportunity to popularise their works.
For youngsters wired to the Internet age who would rather read up topics of interest on the computer screen, a Delhi-based firm, CD Point, has the solution.
The kiosk, selling a wide variety of CDs on interactive learning, general knowledge, competitive exams, games and astrology, is proving to be a major hit among children.
Sunil Jha, distributor of CD point, said: “Though the sale during the first two days was dull, we did brisk business on Sunday. More than 200 CDs were sold.”
He added that they had materials for all age groups, right from infants to students pursuing higher education.
These apart, ayurvedic medicines, feng shui and vaastu shastra items are also being sold at the fair counters.
The fair is on till December 8 from 11am to 9pm. Entry fee is Rs 5 per head.
To draw more crowds, organisers are hosting a slew of events such as painting, rangoli, mehendi, antakshari, group dance and fancy dress competitions for school students every day. Fair director said winners would be awarded during the concluding ceremony on December 8.