Foreign participants at Book Fair look to boost cultural ties


New Delhi
Overseas participants at the ongoing New Delhi World Book Fair are seeking to turn a new page beyond conventional agenda of strengthening business ties with India and striving to enhance cultural relations.

Representatives of Singapore and South Korea, the 'Guest Country' and the 'Focus Country' respectively at the fair say they are certainly looking for copyright partners in India.

However, Kim Kyoung Won from the Korean Publishers Association said, "Cultural trade comes first."

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At the South Korean stall the books are not for sale. Instead sample copies by at least 100 publishers from that country are on display.

Won expressed interest in exchanging works of literary art between the two countries.

The ball has been set rolling with a few Korean books having been translated into Hindi already.

"An attempt to translate Korean literature into Hindi and English is on to encourage more readership from India," he said.

He said prospects for exchange of children's literature between the two countries seemed promising.

Indonesia, being a beginner at the fair, too sought both culture and trade links.

"The fair offers us a platform to invite writers or publishers who might be interested in translating Indonesian literature," said a member from the Indonesian embassy who was at the stall.

The stall from Saudi Arabia had on display exclusive books from public libraries, universities and several ministries of the government of the country including 42 translations of the Quran.

Here too, the books are not for sale. Instead, organisers say they have given some of them out for free to several students.

"There are students who are studying about politics in Middle East, the religion of Saudi Arabia or its culture. We give away these books to them to facilitate their education," Hashim Mohammad Ajmal from the Saudi Arabia embassy here said.

Ajmal said they speak to the students to verify that the books will be used by them before handing them over.

"The objective is to encourage people to read and know about the Arabic culture," Hashim said.

A crowd of students mainly from Delhi University, Jamia Milia Islamia and the Jawahar Lal Nehru University were seen at the stall.

28-year-old Mohammad Omair from Jamia Milia Islamia, an Arabic research scholar visited the book fair to buy books that he says, "have been of great help," as it is very difficult to get comprehensive books on his topic.

First Published: Feb 17 2015 | 6:55 PM IST

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