Amar Ekushey Book Fair is one of the country’s most popular fairs and attracts book lovers from all walks of life. While on site, the Dhaka Tribune encountered a 76 year old professor on a mission to connect with her readers. Her name is Dr Akhand Shamsun Nahar.
When asked why she is selling her books in person, Dr Akhand said: “I am not selling my books to earn money. I simply want to connect with my readers… I should have started this approach a long time ago, because it allows me to personally place my books in my readers’ hands. I don’t want to sit and wait for publicity. This has given me the opportunity to get to know my readers and I love interacting with them.”
She added: “My students, readers, and fans of my son Tanzir Tuhin, who is former vocalist and founding member of Shironamhin, come to see me every day. They respect and inspire me.”
Covers of Dr Akhand’s books are designed by her son Tanzir Tuhin. While talking about his mother, renowned singer Tanzir Tuhin said to Dhaka Tribune: “My mother has gone through many struggles in life. I respect her thinking and goodwill.”
Tanzir adds: “Being a good writer is not enough these days. A writer must connect with the readers through publicity and sale of books. We are quite behind on both publicity and sale of books. This is an obstacle many writers have to overcome, just like my mother.”
“My mother wants readers to be able to purchase her books with ease. The money she earns from selling her books will be used to publish her new books,” added Tanzir.
In 2004, Dr Akhand published her first book which is a collection of poetry titled Niler Chhora and she has continued to publish her novels at every book fair. She has published 20 books so far. Akashe Pakhir Mela, Nijhum Dwiper Kabya, Shorab Rostam, Batighor, and Antorale are the names of a few books among the 20 she has published. Published by Shilpotaru Prokashoni, Launch Terminal is her latest novel.
She is currently working on two books to be released next year.
Dr Akhand Shamsun Nahar was born in 1943 in Bhola. She completed her BA from Eden College and MA from Dhaka University in Bangla, along with two master’s degrees in political science and education management. She also holds a PhD from the University of Kalyani in India.
Dr Akhand worked in the National Curriculum and Textbook Board and as a professor in a government college. Following her retirement, she took up the position of Dean of Education and Training Department at the Asian University of Bangladesh. She is also a guest lecturer at Dhaka University’s International Relations department.