The entire Dilli Haat has transformed into a mini-tribal village, as part of the ongoing Aadi Mahotsav in the capital. On entering the venue, one can see a stall demonstrating the extraction of mahua (a tribal drink) from a plant. Curious visitors encircle the stall in an effort to learn more about the liquor. Sourced from the jungles of Bastar, mahua is being mainstreamed by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, in collaboration with IIT-Delhi. Visitors can also have a look at the pineapple and pomegranate-flavoured variants of the traditional drink, which will be available in the market early next year.
The theme of the Delhi edition of the Ministry’s signature event is “celebration of the spirit of tribal culture, craft, cuisine and commerce”. Nearly 900 artisans have been invited from 27 states to sell their wares, including handicrafts, art, paintings, fabric, carpets and jewellery. The highlight of the festival is the tribal food court, mostly comprising non-vegetarian items from Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha, as well as vegetarian specialities from Gujarat.
Pravir Krishna, MD of Trifed, which organised the festival, said, “We have clocked a sale of more than Rs 1 crore during the first few days of the festival. The artisans have brought in stuff worth around Rs 10 crore.”
Krishna said that as many as 1,000 new variants of the items on display are being showcased for the first time at the festival. Using the sales figure to gauge the market response, some of these items will then be included at various Trifed outlets across the country. Whatever remains unsold once the festival is over, on November 30, will be bought by Trifed, said officials, so that the artisans’ sales figures are not affected. The boarding, lodging and daily allowance of the artisans is being borne by the government, as the festival is part of a government scheme to supplement the income of one crore tribals in the country. Krishna said that 20 more such events will be conducted in the state capitals in the coming months.