If the final numbers for the month long Amar Ekushey Boi Mela actually compared favourably with last year – a remarkable feat given the weather – still there is much dissatisfaction with the way the Bangla Academy has handled things.
Now Professor Emeritus Serajul Islam Choudhury has said it is time for a change.
Noting the fair originated as a sideshow at the Bangla Academy, a prestigious body set up to take care of the nation’s literature and language, not to act as a gigantic book fair, Choudhury told UNB, according to BanglaMirror, that,
Bangladesh’s publisher guilds should take the responsibility. Being occupied with the fair’s arrangement is diverting (the Academy) from its original goal.
Since 2014 the boi mela has been held across two grounds, having outgrown the Academy venue, but Choudhury argued this dilutes the focus of the fair. Choudhury also reminded everyone that the Bangla Academy has not done a great job of providing a weather-resistant venue for the fair.
The Academy expressed no view on the prospects, saying simply,
It’s up to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to decide.