For Love of the Written Word

The Sharjah Book Fair is one massive event “for the love of the written word”, just as the slogan expresses. Visit the event and you would be astonished to the amount of ink mankind has spread of tons of paper full of expression and thoughts.

Since the dawn of civilization man has always been obsessed of communicating his thoughts, the knowledge that he acquire through a long learning process of understanding, experimenting and experiencing. The hunger and thirst for knowledge is what differentiates us humans from all other species that dwell this planet and probably make us feel superior.

The revolutionary age of information has digitized these thoughts and turned the ink into bits and bytes nevertheless the urge for holding a book in ones hand and swallowing the vast knowledge implanted in ink never lessens. The scent of the books its lustful binding and bright pages with shinny ink is what attracts readers to love the hard copies. Mind well that ink is called “rosh’naee” in Urdu because it radiates the light of knowledge and enlightens the soul. Love of books has grown and deepened within my heart and I could hardly resist a wonderful title except when the dept of my pocket is shallower. The Sharjah Book Fair is a place where I find relaxation skimming through pages and titles over the bookshelves and in stalls, and at times the clock stops as I just swallow a finer piece of work rather then just window shopping. The love and passion is never ending.

Though I am a book lover and like spending on a good title but the purse is not quick to open up. Though we are growing in terms of knowledge, education and information which is readily available everyday our lives are becoming shorter and homes smaller, with no spare time nor enough space to store the thought provoking work of authors. Even today books are a luxury for those who could afford to maintain its high costs.

During my recent visit to the Sharjah Book Fair, a thought popped up my mind as I looked up on the large banners that declared “Love for the written word”. The thought of being fortunate to own some of the worlds lovely titles published and happy to have read through the minds of some of the worlds brilliant men time has known was the most prominent. While another thought did sneak in to declare that since the authorities of Sharjah and its leadership are braving such a huge and massive event why not arrange some sort of a pre-owned books fair as well. The reason this thought popped up was seeing the tons and tons of paper displayed at the fair. The rate at which we are producing paper and coping up with demand is growing at such a high pace that I dare to say we might be out of paper in a very near future.

A book fair where people could dispose their pre-owned collection, share, sell, exchange or even give away for recycling would be another such massive event of equivalent impact to the community and our culture as well as our environment. Maybe such a stand alone book fair would not be possible but a well organized section in the International Book Far event could make a huge difference.

To be very much frank and truthful I even do not have an idea of how such an event or a part-event could even be organized but such an initiative would surely be a step forward for the intellectual beings that we humans belong to.

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