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Book Fair Finally Charms University of the Punjab


Dr Lubna Zaheer

Genuine academic and literary activities are rarely seen in the universities of Pakistan nowadays. The race of materialism has adversely impacted the academic, literary and research activities of students as well as teachers. For some years, there has been a miserable practice in our public and private universities that academic, educational and research activities are often used to promote personal relationships. Influential personalities are invited just for photo and publicity stunts and meaningless speeches are delivered.

In this situation, who cares whether or not the guest has any direct connection with the topic under discussion? This seems to be the aim of many national and international conferences. This is the reason why purely academic, literary and research activities rarely pass our eyes. In this context, I am very happy to hear the news that University of the Punjab is planning to conduct a book fair. Although the tradition of book fairs at the varsity isn’t new, there has been no fair for the last nine years. The last book fair was probably held during the reign of Dr Mujahid Kamran as the Vice Chancellor.

Incumbent VC Prof Dr Khalid Mahmood, who has a deep connection with books and belongs to the field of Library Sciences and Information Management, deserves congratulations for conducting this excellent activity after a long time. A few days ago, Punjab Libraries director-general Kashif Manzoor was quoted as having said that Dr Khalid was once the librarian of Quaid-e-Azam Library and his love for books is a natural phenomenon. Dr Khalid does not discuss his knowledge and bookishness, but this is self-evident from his conversation. I have heard him speak on topics like drama, film, music, politics, and journalism. From his conversation, I realised that he is not only an educated man but a man who can read and write.


Yesterday was the first day of the three-day festival. I also found an opportunity to visit and was delighted to see the stalls of 20 well-known book publishers. Books were available on every subject. A large number of people including youths were present there. We often hear that today’s young generation has moved away from books as most of the time the youth is devoted to digital media and especially social media. No doubt there is some truth in this, but even today serious and intelligent young people prefer to read books whether the book is in the form of paper or e-book.

It is also said that book printing has become less common in today’s era and the reason for this is that the book doesn’t sell. However, the major book fairs in Pakistan prove this mindset wrong. If you look at the number of visitors to the book fairs and the statistics of the books sold, you will find that the books are being printed, sold and read. Even today some people love the book. I have seen people at book fairs buying plenty of books. In this era of inflation, such fairs are a boon for book lovers.

The special feature of the book fair at the Punjab University is that more or less 150 publishers and booksellers participate in it. Organisers of the book fair say that books are available here at more discounted prices than any other book fair. Famous academic, literary, political, journalistic and other personalities of the country will participate in the three-day event. The Film and Broadcasting Department of the varsity has also organised the Book Readers Club. The purpose of this session called “Halqa Yaran” is to introduce and critically review various books.

If the readers wish to buy books at very cheap prices, want to meet eminent academic and literary personalities or want to be a part of a literary discussion or assembly, then they must visit the ongoing book fair at Jamia Punjab. Especially for our youth, it’s important to go to this book fair and strengthen friendship with books. Believe me, book reading is better than wasting time with social media. A wise man has rightly said that a book is the best companion and friend. The book fair will continue for two more days.

Around 220,000 books were sold in the last book fair held at the Punjab University in 2015. Seeing the excitement and preparations of the current book fair, it is expected that more books will be sold this time than 2015. The organisers of Jamia Punjab Book Fair deserve congratulations for organising this grand book fair.

Dr Lubna Zaheer

— The author is an academician and political analyst

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Lahore Mirror