SIVASAGAR, Nov 18: The much-anticipated Assam Book Fair, organized by the Assam Publication Board (APB) in collaboration with the All Assam Book Publishers and Book Sellers Association (AABPSA), kicked off on Saturday evening at Boarding Field. The event drew a modest gathering of book enthusiasts, writers, publishers, and students.
Inaugurating the book fair, Sahityacharjya Dr. Nahendra Padun emphasised the eternal attraction of books for inquisitive minds, noting that they serve as repositories of knowledge, setting humans apart from animals. He commended the vital role played by the Publication Board and the Book Sellers Association in making books accessible to people, even in remote areas.
Academy Award winner children’s litterateur Rajeswar Sing Raju, attending the inaugural function, expressed his excitement at the rich history of Assam, particularly the story of Lachit Borphukan and the legacy of the Ahoms. Raju, who travelled over three thousand kilometers to be part of the festival, highlighted the unique charm of Assam and its people, emphasising the mystery that has historically protected Assam from conquest. He praised the Assamese soldiers, who were both cultivators and warriors, and underscored the enduring fascination for books in Indian culture, dating back to the days of saints in the ancient past.
Noted novelist Phanindra Kumar Chowdhury, the chief guest, lauded the book fair as a significant public service rendered by APB and AABPSA, contributing to the overall intellectual development of society. Chowdhury addressed the importance of preserving the Assamese language, urging a departure from imitating Western theories and models. Instead, he advocated following the path laid by cultural luminaries like Sankardev, Madhabdev, and Jyotiprasad, emphasising the need for a supportive environment for the language to flourish.
The cultural festivities began with the melodious Saraswati Vandana, performed by students from Melachakar Sankardev Sishu Bidya Niketan. With over 50 publishing houses participating, the Assam Book Fair promises to be a vibrant celebration of literature, culture, and knowledge in Sivasagar.