Now that the Kashmir Haat stands thrown open for public in Srinagar, it is fairly expected that local crafts, arts , foods and cuisines etc shall be promoted as also seen how added support to local artisans could be provided. Kashmir arts and crafts , papier machie , wood carving and numerous such works need no introduction in context of their quality , superb craftsmanship , elegance and exquisite taste. Jammu and Kashmir needs a concerted well devised and effective campaign to make “Vocal for Local” really popular and a means to popularise local crafts through melas and events held at regular intervals and towards that end the said Haat having been inaugurated by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha generates lot of hopes. This 15 day long Craft Mela at Kashmir Haat , the first of its kind in recent years and that too immediately after the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic having largely subsided , was going to generate immense interest among the public to visit the Haat Bazar and exhibition as also to the buyers of these crafts. Revamping the Haat to provide the best ambience to the local people and the visiting tourists would lend a particular aroma and importance to the “Vocal for Local” campaign. Not only all about exploring and promoting mystical world of Kashmiri arts and crafts , the mela could also host small cultural events and present mouth watering delightful local cuisines. Such Haats, we fairly know, are places for commerce as well as festivities and exude a feeling of togetherness leading to social, cultural as well as economic exchanges.
Usually Haat markets in Kashmir have traditionally been a blend of vendors setting up shops and visiting tourists for making purchases as also locals thronging for enjoying cultural programmes , cuisines and even watching adventurous feats by many professionals . Before the onset of cross border terrorism in 1990 , Kashmir Haat or Exhibition used to be a major attraction usually during the evening hours when visiting tourists would throng and visit various shops and stalls for buying Kashmiri arts and crafts goods while locals , men, women and children – would visit the same for enjoying cultural shows, and even make purchases of items from the long list of such arts and crafts available at this well knit market. Now that the Haat is thrown open for public , it was surely going to prove useful in many ways. The Haats like the one under reference, therefore, were surely going to empower handicrafts, handloom artisans and others associated with these crafts to further improve their living standards.
In fact, Haats can really play a pivotal role as a platform to gather information , exchange views and knowing about tastes and fashions, engaging in social, cultural and entertainment related activities. Basically, meant to provide a market place for local arts and local artisans and workers and a market of a particular type , Haats allow people to purchase goods which otherwise they could not usually access. The Lieutenant Governor being hopeful of seeing Kashmir Haat in the immediate near future as the most happening places to visit in Srinagar as new additions were in the offing for it like Amusement cum Children Park coming in the same ambiance, denotes a policy of increasing various economic activities and the resultant overall growth.
That there were immediate plans to open a similar Haat in Jammu to showcase rich and varied handicraft tradition of the region including the speciality of mural paintings and other arts besides agricultural specialities like Saffron, Rajmash and various other items of talent cum skill is quite heartening. Since government has been claiming about its determination to providing new markets and opportunities for such arts and crafts and creating sustainable livelihood for the local artisans which could go a long way in preserving rich cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir, it is hoped the Jammu Haat would be set up soon. Moreover , that these Haats eventually would be on the pattern of Haats in Delhi, denotes innovative and professional approach to the matter.
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