Wednesday, July 28

To Russia, with love: Bengali translations fly off shelves

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Kolkata’s love story with Russian literature continued at the 44th edition of the International Kolkata Book Fair. Bolstering the image of Russia, the theme country at the fair this year, the Publishers and Booksellers Guild, along with the Russian Consulate, made elaborate arrangements to get the most popular Russian classics translated into Bengali. Understandably, the Russia pavilion, where the books have been displayed, has been drawing huge crowds, as book lovers flipped through titles, like ‘Shishu Kahini’ by Leo Tolstoy, ‘Alta Jaba’ by Sergei Aksakov, ‘Byanger Visvadarshan’ and Maxim Gorky’s ‘Ma’ and ‘Choruichhana’. Childhood nostalgia, coupled with the sheer appeal of the books, saw them flying off the shelves in no time. Students also took home engineering and medicine books. Even Russian readers has ostensibly developed interest in Bengali literature as poet Subodh Sarkar said his book had been translated into Russian.

Bringing AJC Bose to people

Bose Institute, a repository of all contents that Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose wrote, has brought special editions and volumes of the scientist’s books, scientific essays, letters and memoirs capturing the pioneering science movement of the time. The idea, said an official, was to bring Bose to people. “Apart from his pioneering contributions to the fields of radio and microwave optics and to plant studies, did you know that he was also one of the first writers of science fiction in Bengali? He is almost an unknown planet and we want to present him holistically to the city. Hence this effort,” the official at the stall said.

Promoting wildlife

Books on wildlife have always been a favourite among readers here, and multiple new titles were unveiled at the fair, “forests of Bengal” being one of the most popular themes. Nature, Environ and Wildlife Society, which works for the welfare of forests and wildlife, also brings out a magazine, Environ. Given its unusual coverage of tigers, wild dogs and grizzly bears in the country, the magazine seemed an instant hit. Honey, mats, Dudheshwar rice and sonamug dal, all sourced from the Sunderbans, were also stocked at the stall.

Senior Citizens’ Day

Celebrating Senior Citizens’ Day, the Publishers and Booksellers Guild invited residents of old age homes in the city for a tour of the fair. Some of the visitors had physical incapacitation and had to be assisted while moving from stall to stall. The physical fatigue notwithstanding, they enjoyed themselves at the fair and returned home with books gifted by the Guild.


Source: Times of India

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