Mamata roots for physical books at book fair inaugural

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Kolkata, Jan 25 (IANS) Expressing her preference for “physical books”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said they can never be replaced by e-books.

At the inauguration of the 40th Kolkata International Book Fair at the Milan Mela ground, Banerjee said physical books possess an old-world charm which e-books do not.

“The feeling we get in sifting through a book is beyond description. They have an old world charm, unlike e-books.

“The experience of reading on the internet is nothing compared to the pleasures of turning the leaves of a book,” said Banerjee, who declared the event open along with Bolivian author Magela Baudoin by the customary striking of a gong.

The chief minister said seeing children carry books gives her a wonderful feeling.

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Two books authored by the chief minister — one on “intolerance”, and the other on Urdu shayari were released at the inaugural programme of the event, regarded as the world’s largest non-trade book fair.

The fair will be thrown open to the people from January 26 and conclude on February 7. Bolivia is the theme country this year, while Vietnam is the guest of honour country.

A three-day Kolkata Literature Festival, beginning on Febrary 4, will be part of the fair.

A highlight of the KLF is a discussion on the issue of “intolerance”, where veteran poet Ashok Vajpeyi would take part.

Vajpeyi, veteran actor-director Amol Palekar and Bengali novelist Sanjib Chattopadhyay will inaugurate the festival.

Vajpeyi, Chattopadhyay, Tridip Shurud and Kavita Punjabi will be the panelsits at the session “Intolerance in Tolerant India”.

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Noted blind story-teller Giles Abbot from Britain will also regale the audience at the KLF.

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