Christian stands at the 2023 edition of the Ekusha Boi Mela, which takes place until February 28 at the Bangla Academy. Some Muslim visitors make negative comments, others take the opportunity to buy the Bible and learn about the life of Jesus. Several authors from the Bangladesh Christian Writers Forum participate in the event.
Dhaka () – Witnessing the Gospel from the stand of a book fair, promoting Christian literature and encouraging encounters with the Muslim world, although some – a few – tend to shy away, insult or invite their children “not to touch the bible.” This is the spirit that animates the Christian presence at the Ekusha Boi Mela 21, the annual event that this year was inaugurated again by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and takes place until February 28 at the Bangla Academy in Dhaka. In this edition there are more than 800 exhibitors, including the Bangladesh Bible Society (BBS) at booth number 789 of the fair complex.
“Some Muslim readers – commented to Shuvro Falia, head of marketing for the BBS – have expressed negative comments towards Christians, even going so far as to tell their children that they should not touch the books”, but in general the atmosphere is positive. The review dedicated to the martyrs of the Bengali Language Movement assassinated on February 21, 1952 has been an opportunity to “spread the word of God and the faith among many people, some of them non-Christians, who come to us and buy copies of the Bible”. “We bear witness to Jesus Christ – adds the woman, a Protestant Christian – with our presence”, and we remember the British missionary William Carey, who was the first to translate the Bible into the local language.
This year, for the first time, there is also a stand of the Bangladesh Christian Writers Forum (BCWF), with the aim of “sharing our literature with others”, as President Khokon Corraya puts it. His presence at the fair, he adds, encouraged the sale of thousands of Christian books and magazines to readers who otherwise would never have encountered and learned about such a specific genre.
Even some Islamic faithful, Falia intervenes, “they welcome the presence of a stand dedicated to the Bible.” Among them Hassan Mahamud, who tells that he bought a copy despite being a Muslim to “learn more about Christianity” and its sacred texts. The Reverend James Jipu Roy, from the Protestant House Church community in Bangladesh, affirms that he is a deep admirer of the initiative and hopes that other Christian realities will be present in the future, so that “our values - he concludes – find more and more forms of diffuse”.