Intellectuals upset as Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi shifts little mag fair out of Kolkata
Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi’s decision to shift the Little Magazine Fair from the Nandan cultural complex in Kolkata to Rabindra Okakura Bhavan in suburban Salt Lake has created widespread resentment among a section of intellectuals.
Officially, the change of venue has been blamed on ongoing renovation at Nandan. But questions have been raised on pushing it out of the city.
“It’s a sudden decision. Rabindra Okakura Bhavan is out of the way compared with Nandan and this will discourage a section of potential buyers, affecting booksellers," said Subhodeep Maitra, who regularly writes for little magazines. Besides, “if the Kolkata International Film Festival can be organised at Nandan, why not the little mag fair?” Maitra asked.
Members of the fair committee will send a deputation to the Akademi on Monday requesting them to shift the venue to somewhere more accessible. “We have requested them to give us space at Mohor Kunja opposite Nandan, but they are yet to decide,” Sujoy Dutta, another writer, said.
Akademi member Subodh Sarkar, however, said:“As there is space constraint at Mohor Kunja, the fair has been decided to be shifted to a larger premises in Salt Lake. Hopefully next year it will be back at the usual venue. We have also decided to shift the Bangladesh Book Fair from Mohor Kunja.”
The fair is scheduled to for 11-15 January. The last fair had space for 350 stalls which was expected to increase this year.
Renowned poet Nirendranath Chakraborty, who heads the committee of editors at the Akademi, said the resentment was uncalled for as the fair is anyway pretty popular.
The Akademi was founded in 1986 to promote Bangla. In 1998, it took on the responsibility of organising the little magazine fair.