Discussion on ‘Orientalism’ at Kolkata Book Fair

Counting the footfalls, Kolkata Book fair is the most visited book fair in the world. Two million visitors flow in and out in ten day marathon of books. Along with buying books visitors could also listen to numerous discussions held in different auditoriums within fair premises. This year one such programme, attracted audience in huge numbers.

Since Edward Said wrote his masterpiece ‘Orientalism’ it became a topic of discourse among the intellectuals and layman alike. How the West perceives culture and civilisation of East to be highly influenced by handful of European Scholars popularly know ‘Orientalist’ who were considered as the experts on eastern civilisations.

The topic chosen by Bangla Islamic Prakashani Trust (BIPT) was ‘Impact of Orientalism on Indian Thinking’. Held on 5th February afternoon, the symposium was addressed by two speakers. Rabishankar Bal imminent journalist and author and Shahnawaz Ali Raihan former national secretary of Students’ Islamic Organisation (SIO) of India.

Opening the discussion Rabishankar cited numerous examples of aggression and neglect committed by British that resulted erosion of Indian heritage while glorifying the western. Picking up the topic where Ravishankar left, Shahnawaz Ali Raihan elaborated the topic giving befitting criticism on our general rely of neo-oriental scholars to known own civilisation and culture !

The programme concluded with votes of thanks delivered by Mr Muzzafar Ali Secretary of BIPT.

Khalid Khan, Kolkata

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