(Minghui.org) Falun Dafa practitioners from Kolkata managed to secure a booth for the fourth year in succession at the much-touted Kolkata Book Fair, which was held on January 31 through February 11, 2018. The venue this year was Salt Lake Central Park.

Even though being a publisher is mandatory for participation in the book fair, practitioners were told that the organizers allotted them a booth on the basis of the positive feedback from many people during previous years and the sale of Falun Gong and Zhuan Falun books in English, Hindi, and the local Bengali language.

Kolkata, previously known as Calcutta during the British rule, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Kolkata has long been known for its literary, artistic, and revolutionary heritage. The people of Kolkata tend to have a special appreciation for art, so Kolkata has often been dubbed the cultural capital of India and the literary capital of India.

The fair is the world's largest non-trade book fair, and is Asia’s largest and most attended book fair, with over two million participants. The fair offers a typical fairground experience with books taking center stage, and seminars and talks going on throughout the day. Singer-songwriters, performers, and popular food courts give the fair a carnival-like feel.

Thousands of flyers were given out every day.

Weekend crowds at the book fair.

The booth attracted many visitors and an overwhelming response, with practitioners demonstrating and teaching the exercises, and giving out informational flyers. There was no standing room around the Falun Dafa booth on the weekends. People from adjacent booths wanted to know how the practitioenrs managed to sell books, whereas they had few takers. It was amazing to see people stand and read the Falun Dafa story on the backdrop of the booth. Many people were drawn by the health benefits survey of Falun Dafa. Some people sat at the booth and read the books for some time and then purchased them.

Engaged in reading the Falun Gong story.

Many people who were drawn to the books purchased copies in the local Bengali language. In no other book fair in India are Dafa books sold in such large numbers. People also came from distant states to purchase the books. Often when packing up for the day, people came and bought the books as if they did not want to miss out on something so precious. Many people who purchased the books came back to buy a set to give to their relatives as gifts. As was done last year, practitioners taught the first exercise to everyone who purchased books. This worked very well since most of them said they could feel the energy and a sense of lightness, and wanted to follow up on doing more of the exercises later.

An executive director of a large corporation tried the exercises and could immediately feel the energy. He sent several employees and friends to buy books and learn the exercises. He also said he would invite practitioners to introduce Falun Dafa to more people in his locality and help set up a weekly site.

The older people could relate to the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China since the communist regime in West Bengal lasted for 34 years and ended around 9 years ago. When told about the persecution in China one older gentleman said, “We have seen for over 30 years in West Bengal under the communist rule, how labor was exploited and how so many people were killed. You see communism crumbling all over the world.”

A family who had purchased the books two years ago said they had taken up the practice diligently, told people about the benefits, and encouraged many people to buy the books.

A security officer reading Zhuan Falun in Bengali.

This year again the police and ground security staff kept coming back and bringing their relatives. They said they wanted to organize exercise demonstrations for their staff members.

Practitioners got a time slot and an opportunity this year to demonstrate the exercises on a special stage on the book fair grounds. Many people came and later visited the booth to buy books and learn the exercises.

Practitioners demonstrate the exercises on a public platform.

People watch the exercise demonstration.

Some newspapers reported on the book fair and included photos of the Falun Dafa booth in the articles.

All practitioners who participated in the Kolkata Book Fair felt that it was a great opportunity to reach out to so many people and create an awareness of Falun Dafa. Local practitioners have organized follow-up sessions to teach the exercises. They look forward to participating again next year, and plan to organize it in an even better way to reach out to even more people.