I always prefer visiting Bangladesh in February as it gives me an opportunity to visit Boi-mela. As I was in Dhaka this february, I made sure to visit the Boimela.

I picked a week day early afternoon with the hope that the crowd will not yet be that heavy. I was proved wrong as I noticed the end of the line in front of Dhaka museum in Shahbag. A good mile walk from there.


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The walk was great. Lot of interesting things around. Like these group of students in the photo below are busy in raising some fund for a sick friend/class mate. Whereelse in the world you will see this sort of empathy?

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There was every possible effort to hide the sky from the face of Dhaka. The hordings and banners on the way was corporate business ventures in many occassions.

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As I keep on walking, suddenly I discover the embodiment of Bangladesh lying on streetside.

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At least the “lamp-post” recalls Humayun Azad.

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I was very impressed at the collective patience despite the extremely slow movement of the line under the scorching Sun.

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There were plenty of enetertainmnet around for the moving human sea.

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After this epic longmarch, as I reached Boi -mela gate, instead of a welcome arch, I was greetd by a metal detector and dozen gun totting, metal detector wielding menacing looking RAB brothers.

Once inside, it was crowd, dust, noise pollution by constant comercials by loud speakers, and behind a thick layer of man and women some book vendors making their sale of the year.

If you want a specific book, you have no way to locate it unless you know who is the publisher and that publisher has a stall in this mela.

The Boimela, I found, is intended to served the interest of Book publishers not readers. Year after year I see accelerated efforts to serve the publishers better than the previous year. e.g. remove and ban non publisher book vendors, disallow selling other publishers books, banning non bangladeshi publishr’s books, absolutely no attempt to make the mela more visitor friendly or reader friendly.

It is a mela commemorating the glory of language Bangla and championing Bengali nationalistic pride, but in this mela you will not find a book of Budhdhodeb Boshu as it was published from “India”.

Hence I refuse to call it Boi mela, I call it ” Bangldeshi Boi-er Bazaar”.

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