by Peerzada Arshad Hamid
NEW DELHI, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- As the New Delhi World Book Fair has begun in the Indian capital, all roads seem to lead toward the city's Pragati Maidan, a vast venue designed for exhibitions.
Book lovers, young and old, are making a beeline to the halls, which are showcasing a wide array of books and cultural activities.
The fair will go on until Jan. 17, much to the delight of visitors and those interested in looking at the world through the books.
This year, the guest of honor is China, which has set up a beautifully designed pavilion spread across 1,200 square meters at hall number 7.
At the pavilion, visitors walk through the chambers housing hundreds of Chinese books translated into English displayed on its shelves.
"It is really good to be part of this book fair," said Yin Yamin, Rights Manager, Intellectual Property Publishing House.
"We want to introduce our concept of publishing in India and offer our help to the publishers here in understanding the patent literature publishing."
More than 250 Chinese delegates including publishers and authors are participating in the book fair that kicked off on Saturday.
Around 5,000 Chinese books will be showcased in the nine-day long fair and books translated from the Chinese language into English and Hindi are conspicuously on display.
The visiting publishers from China hope to strengthen their ties with India by providing a glimpse into China's culture and knowledge.
"We want more and more people to visit us, read our books and understand them. People in India can read our work and see how we have moved forward," said Yolanda Liu, Vice Director of China Renmin University Press.
"Once we will understand each other, we can come closer and strengthen our relations, " said Liu.
"We publish academic work in philosophy, economics, politics, law sociology finance, aesthetics and other subjects," said Liu, "This program and exchange would certainly help to bring us closer to our counterparts in India and would go a long way in strengthening our
Inside the pavilion, at the center, a cubicle has set aside to attract young children. The walls have frames impeccably kept featuring colorful sketches of places and characters from Chinese fairy tales.
Below each frame is the gist of the story translated into English for Indian children.
"I have enjoyed the fairy tales, for they are meaningful and exciting," said Ashutosh Khurana, a sixth grade student, who had come to the fair along with his mother and sister.
"I have developed an interest to read more and want to read children's bed time stories from China."
Apart from showcasing books, several important Chinese authors, including acclaimed children's fiction writer Cao Wenxuan, best seller Mai Jai, as well as, lyrical poet Lan Lan among others, will be present
during the fair to share their writing experiences and insights.
"At least one third of the spiritual lives of people today originates from India. But this ancient country offers not only religion, it has Tagore, and film and software engineers, and music and dance, all
indispensable parts of global civilization," writes Mia Jia in his message to India.
In the age of the Internet, this huge book event appears to be a concrete effort from participating countries to keep book culture alive and incubate reading habits into the next generation.
"The New Delhi World Book Fair is today one of the premier calendar events in the world of books, where we offer opportunities to do business with the book industries of India, Asia and Africa," said Rita Chowdhury, the fair director.
"The guest of honor country China has come in a big way to host a series of programs as part of their
The fair touted as "Asia's largest book fair" last year attracted around one million visitors. However, this year the expectations are higher.
Around Delhi, the billboards and posters about the book fair are dotting the roads and markets. Even posters have been pasted on the back of auto rickshaws, a common form of urban transport in India, to lure people.
The tickets for the event have been made available at multiple places including metro stations for the convenience of visitors.
"The fair can boast of hosting the largest community of book lovers in the world," Chowdhary said.
"Be it trade visitors, children and youth, the academic or general readers, there is something that would hold the interest of everyone."
The theme for this year's fair is the Cultural Heritage of India. More than 1,000 titles in major Indian languages on philosophy, language and
literature from ancient to contemporary times are on display.
In addition, there is a series of programs including panel discussions, classical and folk dances, workshops, authors' meetings, and seminars will be integral parts of the fair's proceedings.
The book fair was inaugurated by Indian Minister of Human Resources Development Smriti Irani.
Back at the Chinese pavilion, the visitors are attracted to a photo exhibition based on the theme of China-India cultural contacts.
The exhibition brings alive the special moments captured in photographs and reflects the characteristics of cultural contacts between China and India in different historical periods over the past 2,000
"Looking at the photographs, one gets an opportunity to peek into our past," Aparna Jha, a student of History said.
"India and China have come a long way and there is a need to strengthen the ties further to understand each other."
Thirty countries from the world including Egypt, Germany, Nepal, Poland, Spain and Saudi Arabia, to name a few, are taking part in the nine-day event, besides international agencies like WHO and UNESCO.