(Minghui.org) Practitioners from Kolkata participated in the popular Kolkata Book Fair from January 31 to February 12, 2023. They introduced Falun Dafa and practitioners demonstrated and taught the exercises and were warmly welcomed by visitors. This was the seventh year they participated in the book fair.
The Kolkata International Book Fair is the world’s largest non-trade book fair, Asia’s largest book fair, and the most attended book fair in the world. This year there were 900 booths. Masks (to prevent COVID) were not mandatory and an estimated 2.8 million people attended the fair this year, many more than last year.
There was an overwhelming response throughout the day and many people stopped at the Falun Dafa booth. Practitioners demonstrated and taught the exercises to soothing music and distributed fliers. On the weekends there was no standing room around the Falun Dafa booth.
There was some resistance from people initially when they saw it was a practice associated with China because of recent tensions at the India-China border. This gave practitioners an opportunity to show the wall display of “Falun Dafa – All Over the World” and explain that Falun Dafa is an ancient spiritual and meditation practice that is practiced all over the world but is not allowed in China. In the past 23 years, many practitioners have been killed for not giving up their belief and are not allowed to do the exercises.
Since the communist regime in West Bengal lasted for 34 years and ended around 15 years ago, elderly people could relate to the persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China. When told about the persecution in China one elderly gentleman said, “We have seen for over 30 years in West Bengal under the Communist rule how the labor was exploited and how so many people were killed! Communism is now crumbling all over the world.”
Another gentleman was so shocked when he was told about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) organ harvesting from practitioners that he demanded proof. A practitioner gave him a copy of the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and asked him to read the report of the independent investigation by David Kilgour, former Canadian Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, and David Matas, an international human rights lawyer in Canada, and visit the minghui.org website. He was moved when he saw the paintings of the Art of Zhen, Shan, Ren (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) Exhibition.
A gentleman from Mumbai said he detested China’s aggression and greed in grabbing more land and cited some recent examples at the India-China border. He purchased Zhuan Falun in English.
Many people learned from online browsing about the CCP’s persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners and the illegal trade of organs through Organ Harvesting of Falun Dafa practitioners in China and asked for more information. They expressed shock that something so brutal was going on in this day and age.
People were drawn by the Health Benefits Survey of Falun Dafa and many young people wanted to know if they could give up their addiction to smoking and drinking. They were keen to learn the exercises. Many people who purchased the Falun Dafa books in previous years and learned the exercises said they enjoyed immense benefits but slacked off due to family problems or health-related problems. They were determined to read the books after returning home.
Some elderly people who purchased the Falun Dafa books said it’s very helpful since the translation in the local language is well executed and they were inspired to read them again. They also said that they were amazed how their aches and pains were reduced after doing the exercises even a little bit and they were convinced that Zhuan Falun had amazing power.
People Show Interest in Falun Dafa and the Art Exhibition
Police and Security Force officers were very interested in Falun Dafa after watching practitioners demonstrate the exercises and learning about the health benefits. A female officer purchased the books and asked for an exercise demonstration. She said she would like to organize exercise demonstrations at their police station and was happy to know about the free online webinars.
Many people were interested in the paintings. When told that some practitioner artists suffered the CCP’s torture and persecution for not giving up their faith, one lady said “The paintings are so moving and obviously the communist party could not suppress the goodness and talent. It shines through in their creative expressions.”
Shahid Ali had an adjoining booth where they distributed free copies of the Quran. He was fascinated by practitioners’ exercise movements and kept coming over to find out more about Falun Dafa. He was impressed by the wall panel which displayed “Falun Dafa- All Over the World” showing practitioners in different countries.
The photo of Muslim practitioners in Indonesia caught his eye and he said this practice has universal acceptance and appeal and that the Master and founder of this discipline is truly great. He browsed through the books and said he would buy them. He also promised to visit practitioners in their homes to learn the exercises.
Jhooma Dutta Gupta learned about Falun Dafa during the 2016 Kolkata Book Fair. She and her husband bought Falun Dafa books and learned the exercises. She was convinced Falun Dafa was very powerful when within a month her one eye that had shrunk in size returned to normal.
Over the last few years she was diagnosed with ovarian cysts twice and both times it disappeared on subsequent check-ups much to her doctor’s amazement. She mentioned that she has the reports to show. Jhooma was so grateful to Master Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Dafa, and often does a heartfelt “Heshi” (a show of respect) in gratitude.
With the responsibility of taking care of an aged mother-in-law and no house help, Jhooma found strength in doing the exercises and reading Zhuan Falun in her native tongue, Bengali. She treats Zhuan Falun with respect and says she’s felt its power. She reads at least ten to twenty pages every night.
Two months back she was in pain and a cyst was detected again. But she has an unwavering faith and knows that this too shall pass. Jhooma came to the Kolkata Book Fair for a few days and did what she does best, tell people her story and encourage people to buy the Falun Dafa books and learn the exercises.
Falun Dafa Books in the Local Language Welcomed
People were drawn by the books in the local language Bengali and purchased them. The largest number of Falun Dafa books were purchased during this year’s book fair. People came from distant states and purchased them. When practitioners packed up for the day, people would hurry over and buy the books as if they did not want to miss out on something precious.
Every practitioner who participated in the Kolkata Book Fair felt that it was a great opportunity to reach out to so many people and tell them about Falun Dafa. Local practitioners organized follow-up sessions to teach the exercises face-to-face as well as through online webinars. They look forward to participating in the book fair next year.
Background: What Is Falun Dafa and Why Is the CCP Persecuting It?
Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong) was first introduced to the public by Mr. Li Hongzhi in Changchun, China, in 1992. The spiritual discipline is now practiced in over 100 countries and regions worldwide.
Millions of people who have embraced the teachings, which are based on the principles of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance, and have learned the five exercises have experienced improved health and well-being.
Jiang Zemin, former head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), perceived the spiritual discipline’s growing popularity as a threat to the CCP’s atheistic ideology, and on July 20, 1999, he issued an order to eradicate the practice.
Under Jiang’s personal direction, the CCP established the 610 Office, an extralegal security organisation with the power to override the police and judicial systems and whose sole function is to carry out the persecution of Falun Dafa.
Minghui.org has confirmed the deaths of thousands of practitioners as a result of the persecution over the past 24 years. The actual number is believed to be much higher. Countless practitioners have been imprisoned and tortured for their faith.
There is concrete evidence that the CCP sanctions the harvesting of organs from detained practitioners, who are murdered to supply China’s organ transplant industry.
Chinese version available