Kolkata, Jan 27 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) US Ambassador to India Timothy Roemer, who is on a visit to Kolkata to be part of the city’s cultural pride– the Kolkata Book Fair— recollected some of the fond memories that binds the two countries beyond politics.
Walking down the lane of history he remembered his cultural affiliations with the City of Joy and USA.
“Our association with this wonderful city goes all the way back to 1794 when Benjamin Joy arrived in Kolkata as the first American Consul. Since then, we have strived to increase our bilateral ties with the region and, as President Barack Obama noted, ‘stress the importance of people-to-people connections.’
“Our association with the Kolkata Book Fair reflects this and underscores our appreciation for, and desire to contribute to, the vibrant cultural life of the city. Kolkata has long been a cultural superpower, the home of giants like Satyajit Ray, whose passion for great books gave us some of history’s greatest films, and Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th birth anniversary we celebrate this year,” he added.
“I am so excited to be a part of the 35th Kolkata Book Fair. This city’s passion for life and the intellectual curiosity of its people makes Kolkata a natural host for one of the world’s largest events for devotees of the printed word. It’s a wonderful cultural event and the United States is thrilled to be associated with it as this year’s theme country.
“As a book lover and book collector myself, I am personally honored to be here on the opening day and excited to see what the Fair has to offer,” he added.
”The US participation in the Kolkata Book Fair highlights the fact that our relationship with India is not just about politics, but also revolves around shared values,” he observed.
Kolkata Book Fair got underway at the Milan Mela ground on the eastern fringes of the city on Tuesday marking the beginning of a 12-day cultural carnival that the entire city of book lovers await the whole year.
With America the focul theme of the year, the inaugural ceremony was graced by Richard Ford, Pullitzer Award winneing American novelist, along with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Indian writer Atin Bandyopadhyay.
The participating countries include Bangladesh, Britain, the US, China, Vietnam and Italy while the participating states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharastra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand.
More than five hundred stalls have been put up at the fair.
There is no entry free to the fair this year as the Book Sellers and Publishers Guild had decided to waive the fees as a mark of respect to Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th Birth Anniversary is being celebrated this year.
The Kolkata Book Fair ends on Feb 6.