Malegaon may be known nationally for bomb blasts and communal tension it suffered, but the textile town in north Maharashtra has beaten major cities of the country in sale of Urdu books at a book fair that is promoted by the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development.
The HRD ministry, through the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, has been holding Urdu book fairs since 2001 across major cities in the country as part of its initiative to promote books and writers in the language. So far, these fairs have mostly been held in state capitals.
However, for the first time, the NCPUL has chosen this year a small town like Malegaon to hold the 10-day fair, which began on January 3.
“The response has been stupendous. We have been overwhelmed by the turnout. We have managed to sell books worth over Rs 65 lakh. Before this, our highest sales record was in Mumbai in 2011 when we sold books worth Rs 53 lakh,” NCUPL research officer Khurram Shahnawaz, who is in charge of the fair, said.
There are still two days left for the fair, which will conclude on Sunday.
Shahnawaz said the footfalls at the fair were four times the one in Mumbai. “One at least two days, we had to turn away people because of the huge turnout,” he said.
A total of 38 publishers have set up shop with thousands of book titles up for sale.The fair was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Minority Affairs K Rahman Khan.
Malegaon, once known as the Manchester of India for its sprawling textile industry, is now better known for its crumbling urban infrastructure. However, the city has one of the highest number (110) of Urdu educational institutes in the country.