At the Amar Ekushey Book Fair, people of all ages – from children to elderly men and women – have been thronging the stall of the country’s longest running monthly satirical magazine “Unmad” at the Bangla Academy premises.
Since the fair opened at 3pm Monday, hundreds of Unmad fans were seen gathering before the stall which sits adjacent to the Dr Muhammad Enamul Haque Building to buy current and back issues of the magazine.
Like every year, the Unmad stall includes previous monthly issues as well as Unmad comic books, joke books, posters, and stickers with a compilation of the best issues of 2017 as the centerpiece.
“Since the magazine started its journey from 1978, we have found readers from all age groups coming to our stall and buying their favorite issues,” said Sumi Afrin, a graphic designer of the magazine.
“Thus far at this year’s fair, we have received a very good response from our readers and I think this trend will continue in the future,” she added.
Md Aminur Rahman, 29, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) worker hailing from Jessore, came to Dhaka in order to visit the book fair. Yesterday afternoon, he came to the Unmad stall with a list of back issues.
When asked, Aminur said: “One of my key interests at the book fair this year is collecting a number of old issues of Unmad that I have missed. There are numerous back issues at the stall including recent ones, and this is a great opportunity for Unmad lovers to catch up.”
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The Unmad stall includes previous monthly issues as well as Unmad comic books, joke books, posters, and stickers with a compilation of the best issues of 2017 as the centerpiece Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune
Another visitor, Touhidul Islam, 47, a private bank officer in Dhaka, said: “Many in our generation have grown up reading this exceptional magazine. During my college years, I used to long for the next edition of the magazine.”
The comic books, story books, and joke books at the stall have drawn the attention of children, and many parents were seen buying the editions requested by them. At the stall, visitors get a chance to meet their favorite Unmad cartoonists and writers including the Editor, Ahsan Habib.
Two college friends, Kazi Khaled Ashraf and Ishtiaq Hossain, launched the magazine in their early 20s. The amateurish first issue of Unmad was a massive hit among the youth and young adults of the country. All of its 3,000 copies were sold out within a month, while the following issue had up to 6,000 copies printed, sources said.
Soon, the cartoon magazine drew the attention of conscious nationals of the country for its intelligent satire. By the mid 1980s, the magazine became extremely popular when cartoonist Ahsan Habib took charge. Under his leadership, the circulation of the satire magazine reached around 30,000, according to sources.
When contacted, Mehedi Haque, the executive editor of Unmad said: “The reason for Unmad’s enormous popularity has been its focus on socio-political irregularities in Bangladesh.”