An appeal re: The Calcutta Bookfair Fire (fwd)

Allen Thrasher athr at
Wed Feb 19 15:48:31 UTC 1997

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 06:57:36 -0800
From: Frank Conlon <conlon at>
Reply-To: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA at>
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA at>
Subject: H-ASIA: An appeal re: The Calcutta Bookfair Fire

                           February 19, 1997

An appeal re: The Calcutta Bookfair Fire
Ed. note:
H-ASIA editorial policy continues to closely limit posts that are
solicitations for fund-raising activities or that are not directly
linked to scholarly issues on the areas of our coverage.  This
post has been accepted because of the nature of the targetted
recipients and their linkages to many academic readers.     F.F.C.
From: Apurba Kundu <a.kundu at>

Calcutta Bookfair Fire Disaster Appeal

As a native Calcuttan and an avid reader, I ask you to reply
to Calcutta Bookfair Fire Disaster Appeal. Its aims are best
explained in the following letter, reproduced with permission
from the _Times_, 15 Februrary 1997.

Bookfair Fire

Sir, At 3.25pm on February 3 the Calcutta Bookfair burnt down
(News in brief, February 4). Behind this bald statement lies
the fact that in just over 40 minutes fire, aided by a strong
wind, burnt down more than 600 or so publishers' stands,
killing one person and injuring 44.

The 22-strong delegation of British publishers, led by me,
were well insured and their livelihoods were not threatened
by what had happened. However, of the 600 or so stands
destroyed about 400 were manned by small publishers,
publishing in Bengali, whose stands were not insured. In many
cases money had been borrowed to exhibit at the fair.

Book-purchasing in Calcutta is quite different from elsewhere.
There are very few bookshops in the city and the fair is the
focal point of the year for these small publishers, where they
do about 50 per cent of their annual business. Many if not
most of them have been ruined by the fire and imaginative ways
must be devised to get them back on their feet.

In consultation with the British Council in Calcutta those
British publishers who attended the fair have started a fund
to help the smaller Indian publishers. We hope that enough
money will be raised to alleviate in some small way the
horrific burden on firms which lost everything.

Yours sincerely,
c/o Publishers Association,
19 Bedford Square,
London WC1B 3HJ
United Kingdom

Please send your cheques made payable to:

Account name:   'The Publishers Association - Calcutta Disaster Fund'
Account number: 87321726
Bank Sort Code: 60-05-11
Bank Address:   National Westminster Bank plc
                PO Box 877
                32 Cheapside
                London EC2V 6HT
                United Kingdom

Thank you.


Dr Apurba Kundu
Bradford University
<a.kundu at>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list