Jobs @ MG
2nd Urdu Book Fair a big disappointment
By Our Own Correspondent
|New Delhi: Are we ready to sacrifice
even small things for causes that we believe are close to our hearts? The
experience shows that we never do anything other than just making tall
claims of all sorts. There are numerous examples and the latest one is 2nd
Urdu Book Fair.
Urdu, someone from outside the community will believe is very near to
heart and we have been making tall claims of preserving the language in
inhospitable terrain. But have we really done anything? I mean anything
other than making tall claims of our love for it, the sweet and melodious
language of Firaq, Mir and Ghalib.
More than seventy-five publishers who participated in the Urdu Book Fair
organized by the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language in a
ground overlooking the imposing Red Fort were heart broken when they left
after the fair closed on the night of 11 November. The seven day long fair
was a big jolt to even promoters who had organized the fair. Though they
wouldn’t admit it and say that the success of the fair should be seen in
the participation of more publishers than the last year and not just in
sales. They also say that the publishers come here for getting publicity
and not for sale.
The increased number of participants from publishers should be seen as the
result of some hard work by the organizers and also the great success of
the first Urdu book fair. In the first Urdu Book Fair sixty four
publishers from around the country came to participate. Their number this
time went up to 76. But sales figures went disappointingly low. It is
believed that last time sales were in the range of Rs 20-25 lakh that
receded drastically to around half this time.
It has made the publishers jittery. Most of the publishers said that they
were unable to even cover their costs of paying rent for their stalls
during the week-long fair and the expenses on bringing the books from far
off places and their stay in Delhi. A disappointed publisher from Rampur
who had come to the fair with hopes of last year’s brisk business told
this correspondent that his whole exercise of coming in the fair has
proved a futile affair. He said that last year not only people came and
purchased books but also ordered books to be delivered later. But there
were no orders as well as no one purchasing books from his stall.
Volunteers from Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy stalls were more disappointed
than him. A volunteer told this correspondent that UP Urdu Academy sells
books on very subsidized rates and books and collections of leading Urdu
poets are available at down to earth price, but then too we remained
waiting for customers. The Urdu publishers give heavy discounts in book
fair ranging from 20 percent to fifty percent. But this heavy discount too
couldn’t lure the Urdu lovers towards it.
Hasanul Banna of Idara Ihyaye Deen says that people’s response was very
cold. He said that there were not many visitors this time in the book
fair. But he says that though sales were not very good but response of
people was very warm and he expects some good orders from people who
visited his book stall.
Even last year the business in the fair was initially not very good. But
it picked up later. This time the spirit and sales dampened with every
passing day. There were not many people either visiting the fair to see
books. The ratio of people who visited the fair seems to have gone down
It is certain that next time when the National Council for Promotion of
Urdu Language decides to organize similar fair, it will have to give some
concrete assurance to convince publishers that it is worth it.
Though the fair might have been a failure due to fall in sales and
people’s response, but it was ideal that can be expected. Books on a
wide range of topics were available on heavy discount and gave buyers hard
time to refuse buying a book that he had been thinking for long. It is
really great to see books on shelves we have been thinking about. q
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