Christians struggle in Bangladesh's literary landscape

Publishing pioneers are now finding it hard to get their works published
Christians struggle in Bangladesh's literary landscape

Visitors throng Amor Ekushey Gronthomela (Book Fair of Immortal 21), the largest and most popular annual literary festival of Bangladesh. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)

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On the last Saturday of early spring, the famous Suhrawardy Udyan in central Dhaka thronged with thousands of book lovers.

The park has been hosting the month-long Amor Ekushey Gronthomela (Book Fair of Immortal 21), the largest and most popular annual literary festival of Bangladesh, for the past five years, offering more space for both book publishers and an increasing number of book hunters.

It started as an initiative of educationist-publisher Chittaranjan Saha, a Hindu, in 1972. The fair pays tribute to Bangla language martyrs of Feb. 21, 1952, who died in a clash with police during the Pakistan period upholding the rights of their mother tongue.

Since 1984, Bangla Academy, the state-funded autonomous body for the promotion of Bangla language, literature and culture, has organized the event. However, the huge crowds at the fair pay little attention to Christian publications, largely because of their minimal presence and participation.

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