Classics get readers’ attention too

Mohiuddin Alamgir

new04Classics of the Bangla and world literature have still been in demand at this year’s Ekushey Book Fair, where several thousand new titles have been launched.
It is not just Bangla classics that have drawn book lovers but classics from world literature in translation have also been selling well.
People of all ages, especially young readers, having interest in buying classics said that these were everlasting books and stood the test of time.
‘Generation after generation, people have found these timeless books useful in understanding society, culture and literature,’ said renowned writer Syed Manzoorul Islam, also a Dhaka University English professor.
Publishers said that demand of classics of the Bangla literature had never decreased rather increased during the past five-ten years. They said that catering for the need of readers they were publishing classics in good number.
Abasor Prakashona Sangstha publisher Masud Rana said that they could now publish good number of old classics as most of them were now in the public domain.
Farjana Rahman, who was buying books of Syed Mujtaba Ali and Russian writer Maxim Gorky, said that she was fond of the two writers. ‘I have a plan to collect all the books written by Syed Mujtaba Ali and Maxim Gorky,’ she said.
People get a chance to browse classics at one place at the book fair as almost all leading publishers bring classics to cater for the need of the readers.
Biswa Sahitya Kendro is one of such publishing houses that publish classics of the Bangla literature and world literature in translation. ‘We brought 11-part collection of   Syed Mujtaba Ali that earned praise of visitors at the fair,’ said stall in-charge Tahir Muhammad Asif.
Murdhonno has a set of 151 publications on Rabidranath Tagore on different arena explored by Tagore as well as analysis of some of his novels, stories and poetry while Pathak Samabesh is the only publishing house to have a collection of Tagore’s 25 volumes.
Nazrul Institute and Bangla Academy have collections of Kazi Nazrul Islam while Oittijhya has collections of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and Nanolda has Satyajit Ray collections at their stalls.
Nalonda publisher Redwanur Rahman said that classics topped the list of choices of serious readers.
Stall attendants of different publishing houses said that Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s sonnet, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novels, Mir Mosharraf Hossain’s novel, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay and Manik Bandopadhyay’s novels and short stories were also on high demand.
Bookworms also look for short stories and novels of Shawkat Osman, Akhteruzzaman Elias, Syed Waliullah and others.
Poem lovers visits stalls for Dwijendralal Ray, Jibanananda Das, Jasimuddin, Shamsur Rahman, Rudro Muhammad Shahidulla, Abul Hasan and others poets.
People also buy rhymes and juvenile literatures by Upendrokishore Ray, Sukumar Ray, Sunirmal Basu Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder and others.
‘They are very interesting, and have always been so. These classics give us a glimpse at our past culture,’ said Marfur Rahman a private service holder who bought Hansuli Baanker Upakatha, a novel by Tarashankar Bandopadhay.
Visitor crowded into the book fair on Thursday on the eve of public holiday and sale was quite good said stall attendants. A total of 94 titles hit the fair.
Bangla Academy held a discussion on Ahasan Habib on the day. It will hold another discussion on Radharomon Dutta today.

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