Baatighar officially started its journey in Dhaka through an illuminating programme at Biswa Sahitya Kendra on December 29. Its Dhaka chapter occupies a magnificent 5,000 square feet superstore on the seventh floor of the Kendra. With a collection of 100,000 books across many genres, written by more than 10,000 writers from around the world, the bookstore's interior resembles Dhaka's Lalbagh Fort. Offering a special section for children, it also has ample sitting arrangements for readers and visitors.
At the launching programme, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor attended as the chief guest while Biswa Sahitya Kendra Chairman Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed presided over the programme. Prof Anisuzzaman, eminent educationist Sirajul Islam Chowdhury and Bangla Academy Director General Shamsuzzaman Khan attended as special guests. Poet Mohammad Rafique, Ali Imam, Mamunur Rashid and Anwara Syed Haq, among others, were also present.
In his speech, referring to an anecdote from Manik Bandopadhyay’s life, Asaduzzaman Noor said, “We need to buy books so that our bookshops flourish more and more.” Highly commending the initiative taken by Baatighar Proprietor Dipankar Das, Noor added, “This is such a great journey. I believe that only people who have big dreams in life can take such initiatives. The government has also taken initiatives to improve our book reading culture. Baatighar’s journey in Dhaka will enhance our collective effort.”
Prof Abdullah Abu Sayeed said, “Humanity is great because they can store their knowledge in books. ‘Baatighar’ means lighthouse. So the word ‘light’ is associated with this initiative. Light is a strange phenomenon: Fire and love work behind this light. So this fire, love and dedication – these elements are there with this initiative. I hope, in future, Baatighar will become a true lighthouse of knowledge.”
Shamsuzzaman Khan said, “I am really overwhelmed to see Baatighar’s journey in Dhaka.”
Dipankar Das, also a former employee of Biswa Sahitya Kendra, shared his exuberance with the audience. “We started our journey in a 100 square feet space in Chittagong. I didn’t think of the business aspects while setting it up. I used to hear stories that in Louvre and other places, writers frequent book cafés and engage in lively adda with readers and visitors. I realised that we also need such places in Bangladesh so our writers can grace our bookshops with their presence and interact with visitors and bibliophiles.”