UNESCO takes a stand at the 21st New Delhi World Book Fair
UNESCO New Delhi participated in the 21st New Delhi World Book Fair, which has now become an annual event, organized by the National Book Trust and India Trade Promotion Organisation, at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi from 4-10 February, 2013. This event is one of the largest and the most desired Book Fairs in the region.
“Nothing delights me more than encouraging Indians to read,” said Dr Shashi Tharoor, Hon'able Minister of State for Human Resource Development, while inaugurating the fair. While Dr Karan Singh, the eminent author, Member of Parliament and President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations who was the guest of honour said that for a book lover, there is no greater treat than book fair. “Books have played critical and crucial role in civilization,” he said. Francois Richier, Ambassador of France for India joined as Special Guest on the occasion.
UNESCO New Delhi’s participation aimed to give wider publicity to its publications and periodicals through display and distribution of sales and promotional materials. It also provided an opportunity to acquaint the visitors with UNESCO’s programmes and activities. About 200 titles were displayed, including publications from UPO, IIEP, UIS and UNESCO New Delhi providing extensive coverage of the Organization’s work in all fields of its competence. Over the course of the Fair, over 700 visitors came to the UNESCO stand to enquire about UNESCO’s publications and programmes.
A select list of UNESCO publications on display at the Fair and a list of latest titles 2012 was published by UNESCO New Delhi Office and distributed to visitors. Some of the prominent visitors to the UNESCO stand included government officials from Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, librarians and teachers from schools and universities, researchers, representatives from publishing industry, officials from the regional centres of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and various NGOs.
France was the Guest of Honour country at the Fair and the Fair witnessed a range of activities pertaining to literary discussion, a showcase of the best of French publications, a photo exhibition of French architecture in India and French food. Spread over an area of 45,000 square meters, the World Book Fair had over 2100 stalls and stands in various halls, foyers and hangar. It attracted over 1070 exhibitors, including 28 foreign exhibitors. In addition, international bodies such as the World Bank, ILO, WHO and UNESCO were represented.
The theme of the Fair was “Indigenous Voices: Mapping India’s Folk and Tribal Literature”, where the multifarious expressions of India’s traditional art forms, crafts, panel discussions and performances were showcased. Their aim was to focus on a lesser known heritage of the country. The theme presentation was housed in a specially designed pavilion to project the rich and complex folk and tribal literature of India through a select exhibit of over 400 books in nearly 15 Indian languages, workshops, discussions and performances. A special photo exhibition on tribes of India was also organized at a separate venue in the fair.
The fair also celebrated two important events: A select exhibit of books on Swami Vivekananda organised by NBT in association with Advaita Ashram, Kolkata to commemorate the 150th anniversary of this great philosopher and social reformer of the country; and the novel concept of 40+one: a Book Art Exhibition organised by NBT in association with College of Art, Delhi celebrating the transition of the Fair from a biennial to an annual mode.
“The role of books cannot be undermined in spreading the right message” said by the well-known personality of Indian film industry Farooq Sheikh. Noteworthy Authors like Ruskin Bond, Noor Zaheer, Anjum Hasan, Shefalee Vasudev, Amithabh Bhagchi and many more visited the fair. They shared views on several topics and issues. There were also poetry recitation sessions that added charm to the event.