The Sunderban Development Fair – 2016 was organized by Mukti at Jatar Deul, Raidighi, South 24 Parganas during 2 – 10 January 2016. The fair was a big success, as people from all strata participated and appreciated hugely.
Sunderban, as the name suggests, literally means ‘Beautiful Forest’ and is the home of Sundari trees (mangrove species). Besides trees, the region is also known for its wild life, bird life and aquatic life. Sunderban remains as one of the major attractions for tourists around the world because of its cultural and biological diversity. The area has been very interesting subject of several scholarly works by researchers in various fields of various and persons from different backgrounds.
Mukti has taken a pledge to increase awareness amongst the people about this diversity and uniqueness, and to enable them to visualize changes through the ideas and support of Mukti and experts from various fields. The Sunderban Development Fair 2016 was intended as a platform to facilitate this interaction.
The fair incorporated important attractions for the local people through agricultural park, children’s park, knowledge park, seminars, food park, and handicraft corner. Entertainment was arranged through various cultural programmes and competitions, horse racing, football tournament, lighting, and fireworks.
The first day of the fair was earmarked for the presence of eminent personalities like Sri. Dhurjati Naskar, Sri. Siddhartha Dutta (Pro-Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University) and members of the Governing Body of Mukti, along with political and educational stakeholders from South 24 parganas. Guests were welcomed and felicitated with flower bouquets. National flag was hoisted and pigeons were released as a symbol of love and prosperity. Lamp was lighted together by the guests. Sri. Sankar Halder, President of Mukti, welcomed and appealed to the people to come forward to enjoy the fair. The guests also acknowledged Mukti for the benevolent work and assured all kinds of support for the development of Sunderban. Hundreds of people had gathered to enjoy the programme and applauded. The most important attraction of the day was the theatre group from Chitpur who enacted stories from the daily lives of the people. The crowd grew in number while the theatre started and was enjoyed by everyone.
On each day of the fair, seminars were organized on various topics such as education, livelihood, agriculture, environmental rights, and governance. NGOs and self-help groups engaged in political debate, which helped the people to become aware and gather information on a wide variety of topics. The panel was composed of eminent scholars, researchers, writers, educationists, activists and social workers.
Approximately 1,50,000 people had gathered on 3rd January’2016 to see the horse racing. People were very excited and cheered the racers. The Chhau dance also attracted approximately 85,000 visitors and onlookers, and the dance was hugely appreciated. On the remaining days, Mukti observed almost 5,000 visitors every day and the gathering was more prominent during the evening. Thus, Mukti witnessed the support of around 3 lakh visitors throughout the fair.
A media publication of the Fair also came out in Anadabazar Patrika, where the aims and objectives were in focus.
On the final day, people gathered in huge numbers. They participated in the Lucky Draw and the ambience was one of excitement with the announcement of the winning numbers and exciting prizes. A prize distribution ceremony was organized for all the performers who had been participating in the cultural programmes and the volunteers were acknowledged for their immense support.
The Sunderban Development Fair – 2016, thus made an energetic start to the year with a mission to create awareness among the people on the need of development and appealed for their support. All the people who had been directly and indirectly associated with Mukti had helped to make this mission a success.