Exploring the treasure trove
Photos: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo
What is the one place in Dhaka where students can find every kind of books and stationary they need? The answer that immediately comes to every student's mind is Nilkhet. Be it a textbook for the new semester, a printout of the softcopy of class projects or the latest edition of Harry Potter novel, the assortment of book and stationary shops at Nilkhet can offer one everything within a price range which is very affordable for the students. Located very close to three important universities in Bangladesh namely Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology and Dhaka medical college, the Nilkhet shopping area always bustles with hundreds of student customers.
One can be impressed with the collection and variety of books at Nilkhet.
One of the unique features of Nilkhet book market is that here students can buy and sell old or second-hand books. A number of shops sprawl out in series, including the ones located on footpath that deal with used books and magazines. University students, who often find their textbooks authored by international writers expensive, can buy the second-hand ones of the same books, at a much cheaper price from Nilkhet book market. Rayen, a Dhaka Medical College student says, "Medical books most of the time happen to be very pricey, for example 'Medical Physiology' a book compulsory for most of the medical students would cost me Tk 12,500 if I had to buy the original copy of it. But from Nilkhet I bought the photocopied version of the book with Tk. 500 only."
Not only the textbooks, but Nilkhet is also a heaven for the booklovers of all age who throng the market regularly in search of novels, magazines and journals published here and abroad. Neel Roy, an Australian citizen was seen looking for 'A golden age' by Tahmima Anam at the bookshops of Nilkhet. "I searched for this particular book in some of the bookshops at Gulshan area of Dhaka. However, as I did not find the book in those shops my friends suggested me to visit Nilkhet and I am amazed to see the huge collection of books at every single shop at such a reasonable price," says Neel.
Ashfaque Hossain, an honours student from Dhaka University says, "I have been a regular customer of Nilkhet for a long time. It is only at Nilkhet where one could find books from classic Masud Rana series published during the 70s. Plus every time I come to Nilkhet I never forget to enjoy the scrumptious taste of tehari found at the small makeshift food stores inside the book market.”
Besides supplying books and stationeries, the Nilkhet book market also house a number of shops which offer additional services to the students such as photocopying notes or getting printouts. Students often swarm these shops in groups as they come to get printouts of their class assignments just before the deadline of their submission.
"As Harry Potter would find all the items in Hogwarts supply list at the Diagon Alley, for the regular non-magician students like us, Nilkhet happens to be the place, where one could buy every educational material imaginable," says Hasan, a student studying Bengali Literature at Dhaka University. Indeed the dark lanes of the market and small packed book shops give Nilkhet book market a rather outlandish look, but at the same time the place turns out to be a treasure trove for students with all its books, stationeries and delectable food.