Roy interacts with readers - Laxminath Bezbarua’s statue to be unveiled at fair today

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 31.12.12

Dec. 30: The 14th North East Book Fair began today with the participation of nearly 258 publishers and book sellers’ organisations from across the country.

On the first day of the fair, Booker Prize-winning writer Arundhati Roy interacted with visitors on the fair ground and highlighted some of the current issues affecting the region.

The 12-day fair, organised by the All Assam Publishers and Book Sellers Association, was inaugurated by the pro vice-chancellor of Tezpur University, Amarjyoti Choudhury, at the Assam Engineering Institute.

Today, chief minister Tarun Gogoi and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who were supposed to be at the inaugural function, did not come. Agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka arrived at the programme as the representative of the state government.

Choudhury said book fairs and books are “celebrations of life”. He said he had read numerous books but the book which is most appealing to him is Burhi Aair Xadhu by Laxminath Bezbarua.

Deka said Assamese literature is yet to achieve the level of world literature though at least 1,000 Assamese books are being published every year.

Tomorrow, the organisers will unveil a statue of writer Laxminath Bezbarua at Chandmari to mark his 150th birth anniversary. Writer Birendranath Dutta will formally unveil the statue.

Artistes of different communities of the Assam will sing state anthem, Mor Aponar Dex, written by Bezbarua. A symposium will be organised to discuss different aspects of his works.

The organisers have dedicated January 1 as Xixur Day. Throughout the day there will be a host of competitions like extempore speeches, quiz and poem recitations by children.

Various educational institutions and other organisations are participating in the fair.

The organisers said one of the main attractions of the fair this year is variegated culture of Karbi Anglong district. To celebrate it, Karbi Anglong Diwas has been slated for January 7. A symposium on Oral Memories to Written Texts: Promoting Karbi Literature, Language and Culture will be organised on the day.

President of the association Ajit Barman said the number of publishers’ and booksellers’ associations willing to participate in the fair is more than the capacity of the venue for which they have allowed only selected groups. “The overwhelming response from the participants has proved the increasing popularity of the fair among the people,” Barman said.