The World Book Fair 2017 attracted greater a footfall this year as people from all walks of life attended it in New Delhi, India. Writers and publishers from around the world are participating in the event. The fair has also witnessed new and emerging publishers and writers from South Asian countries. Nepal is a land of vibrant culture. The literary scene in the country is highly celebrated as Nepalese literature has flourished, soaking in all the diversity and vibrancy of the nation.
Yuyutsu Sharma writer and publisher from Nepal said “I am representing Nepal and we have brought over 100 books here. Various genres in culture, art, history and ethnography can be found in our collection. Nepal is a very vibrant place and there are over 80 book stores in Kathmandu itself. Book culture is huge in Nepal, so probably that’s why e-books and the internet are not affecting this culture as much as it has in the Western world”
Due to the advent of new media technologies, the habit of book reading has declined over years. Youngsters prefer to read from Kindle devices, tablets and consume online content in comparison to book reading. But in some south Asian countries like Nepal, books are equivalent with traditional values as people read them to each other and so their value is never going to fade.
“I don’t think that book culture is going to fade because in Nepal we have a big oral tradition in which people recite poetry or read books to others and it’s a century-old practice. And because of all these social networking sites and internet services like Amazon etc., we can spread the word about our books, events etc. so I think it is actually complementing it in a way” Sharma described. South Asia is known for its varied ethnicity, history, indigenous democracy and culture. In few places like Bangladesh, however, freedom of writers is restricted.
Sri Lanka is known as the land of multiple languages, castes, ethnicities and culture has emerged as one of the countries where writers and publishers are very independent in terms of expressing their views. A renowned writer and publisher from Sri Lanka, Vijitha Yapa, expressed his opinion regarding the freedom of writers in South Asia. Vijitha Yapa the former president, Sri Lanka book publishers association said “I think everybody should have the freedom to write. I myself am the founder editor of three national newspapers in the country so I also feel that freedom of expression is a very important thing.
I think some countries where there are problems and especially when it comes to political problems, because politicians are a very sensitive crowd, they don’t like criticism and want everybody to show how great they are. So, if something is written about them which they don’t like, then problems arise. Other than that, I think that freedom of expression is advancing in south Asia”. Along with the courtiers of Nepal and Sri Lanka, Pakistan too participated in the World Book Fair under the publishing banner of Manshurat, which operates from Lahore and have branches in India and other Asian countries. Books in English and Urdu languages were available in the stall in a wide variety of genres.