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January 28, 2020

There can be no bigger an example of united India than the Kolkata Book Fair: Didi  

There can be no bigger an example of united India than the Kolkata Book Fair: Didi  

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the 44th International Kolkata Book Fair today. She praised journalists while presenting the Srishti Award to Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri. She also greeted everyone on the eve of Saraswati Pujo.  

Excerpts from her speech:

The Kolkata Book Fair is an international attraction. We are attached to the event from childhood. The love for books, and the search for unity that books and pictures provide have brought me to the fair each time. Here, little magazines exist side by side with big publishing houses  

I would request Nrisingha Bhaduri to write on the evolution and history of the Book Fair. Nowadays, the Internet has made access to information easy. Earlier, it was very difficult to collect data to write something. The new generation should know about the evolution. 

The fair provides an opportunity to discover lost or unknown talent. It also immortalises good writers who are no longer with us. Even though there is Internet, the satisfaction that the written word on paper can provide cannot be found anywhere else. 

Nothing is aloof from us. We celebrate all festivals as if they are our own. This shows the unity in diversity. Bangla is my language. But does that mean that I will not accept a book written in Urdu or Hindi? There is no bigger united India than this book fair, which is an epitome of India’s culture. Enjoy books, and let Biswabangla meet at this fair.      

This year’s theme country is Russia. Russia has been our eternal friend. We welcome the delegates.They have expressed interest in partnering the Biswa Banga Business meet. They have invited a trade delegation to visit them. They will also send a trade team. We have good ties with all countries.  

When Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister, I had gone to Russia to attend the International Women’s Conference. I have gone there one or two times and know a few places there.