Background- The London Bookfair 2009, where the market focus this year is India. Speakers have included Amartya Sen, Vikram Seth, Sunil Gangyopadhyay, Anita Nair, Dalrymple, Prasoon Joshi, among a host of other Indian writers in English and vernacular languages.
Amartya Sen who took the podium on the first day, 20th April went on to link crime rate and love for books. He commented that Kolkata has "the lowest crime rates in the world due to the civilising effect of books", reported The Telegraph.
Excerpts from his speech:
- “Does the culture of books influence the life of the city in any profound way?”
Like all Kolkatans he also has his heart strings tied with College Street and said that these stalls teeming with books have influenced many a brilliant mind including Satyajit Ray and even himself.
- “It was in one of the College Street bookshops, called Dasgupta’s, that my friend Sukhamoy Chakravarty found at the end of 1951 a copy of a recent book by a brilliant economist Kenneth Arrow, which would radically influence my direction of work. I often wondered whether my life would have gone very differently had my friend, Sukhamoy, not been such a book hound.”