The Urban Haat Experience And Possibilities

Livelihoods, Markets, Marketing, Trade

The Urban Haat Experience And Possibilities

Jaitly, Jaya


Making Dilli Haat a crafts marketplace in the heart of Delhi a reality took me six years and quite some effort. Today I look at it as a dream that was realised. CAPART, the autonomous body connected to the Ministry of Rural development, asked for my story of its history and objectives for publication in its journal, Rural Technology, in 1995 and reprinted in A Podium on the Pavement, New Delhi: USBPD, 2004.

Haats or village markets are part of and agrarian economy; in highly industrialized nations thy have become a part of the landscape of nostalgia. In their more conservative and tradition- bound regions they are a marketplace for the self-employed producer-vendor who attracts the curiosity shopper or the leisurely housewife. The hub of business takes place in corporate offices and antiseptically organized supermarkets and department stores. In a town like Brisbane in Australia, a haat opens up in a plaza beneath vast skyscrapers on Sundays. Woodcutters, leather workers, potters and embroiderers spread out their wares on tables or on the ground. A lively fair-like atmosphere prevails, with lemonade, bands, puppets shows and guitar players, while artisans briskly sell their artistic items of decoration or utility. The market Convent Garden in London was a well known marketplace for flowers and vegetables at the turn of the century. Today it has become a knick-knack haat with and attempt to create an old worldly look amidst London's slick and moder...
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