For the love of books: National Book Foundation holds day-long fair in Mohmand Agency

Published: February 18, 2015
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Students flocked the stalls, sifting through titles on different subjects. PHOTOS: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

Students flocked the stalls, sifting through titles on different subjects. PHOTOS: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

SHABQADAR: National Book Foundation (NBF) organised a one-day book fair at Government Girls Degree College in Ekka Ghund, Mohammad Agency on Tuesday. A large number of students and teachers visited the stalls set up on campus to buy a wide range of books.

Speaking on the occasion, Hina Gul, a student at the college, said the fair provided her the opportunity to read books which are not on their school syllabus.

“In the past, I would only read school textbooks, newspapers and magazines,” she said, carrying a large stack of books in her hands. “I am now excited about reading the books which I’ve bought from the fair as they deal with subjects I am interested in.”

Farzana, a botany teacher, told The Express Tribune some of the books being sold at the fair are not available at the college library. “A variety of books were put on display,” she said. “This is a positive initiative for the residents of Ekka Ghund as it will promote reading habits among young people.”

According to Farzana, the literacy rate in Fata is low compared to other parts of the country and very few people enjoy reading books. As a result, such initiatives can encourage people to turn to books rather than guns.

Alia Saeed, principal of the girls college, said many students do not have the opportunity to attend book fairs which are held across the country. “Organising a book fair on campus is a convenient way to encourage them to read,” she said.

Students flocked the stalls, sifting through titles on different subjects. PHOTOS: MUREEB MOHMAND/EXPRESS

“Moreover, such activities should be held on a monthly basis and books should be sold at discounted prices to students.”

Mohammad Aslam, one of the organisers, told The Express Tribune such fairs have previously been organised in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and NBF will now hold similar events in Fata. “Students seem to be taking an interest in this initiative,” he said. “This is a positive sign as most students in Fata do not have enough money to spend on books.”

According to Aslam, NBF is likely to hold a book fair in Bajaur Agency too.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2015.

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