Siliguri Sunday Haat is One Year Old
For the past year, Siliguri has had a haat (periodic village market). Called the Sunday Haat, this takes place on Church Road every week. In collaboration with COFAM (Centre for Floriculture & Agro-business Management) – NBU (North Bengal University), the Mango tree Village Haat holds a market that enables the producers of organic produce as well as makers of handicrafts to display and sell their products.
The Haat runs from 10 Am to 2 PM every Sunday. I had visited the Haat the last time I was in Siliguri in October. One of the chief organizers and an inspiration for this haat is my friend Raj Basu.
( You can read an interview with him here) He had asked me to come and have a look at what was being done and I was very impressed. On the particular day that I had attended it, there was. in addition to all the fresh vegetables and fruit, jam, condiments and what not, a group of itinerant singers from Nepal. They added a cultural dimension to the Haat and to tell the truth made it really seem as if we were in a village market in the distant hills and not in the heart of a busy, bustling ( and noisy) Siliguri town.
Now the haat is ready to celebrate the completion of its first year. The Mahananda Club, an old venerable institution of that part of town is organizing a celebration for this effort which has enabled many farmers and craftsmen from the Hills and the Dooars to highlight their products and to help create a market for them.
The celebrations are slated for the 19th of January. The day will start with a Puja where a plough ( Haal) will be worshipped in an ages old ritual that farmers all over the country are familiar with. This will be followed by a procession in the locality in which all the participants will join in. Subsequently the serious business of buying and selling will commence and will be followed by a cultural programme which will showcase the songs and dances of the local communities.
It promises to be a grand day. Maybe the Tourism Department should now also promote this event. In any case, if you are in Siliguri any Sunday, please do not miss visiting the Sunday Haat. And if you are here on the 19th, you are a lucky person!!