Haryana has made rapid strides in cattle rearing and animal husbandry in the last forty years. The state is at the forefront of developing high yielding cattle in the country and its breeds are being sent to all parts of India.
The best example of Haryana's success in developing high yielding cattle, is the Murrah buffalo, which now has earned the title of the highest milk yielding buffalo in the world. A Murrah buffalo yields anywhere between 25-35 litres of milk per day. The Murrah buffalo is in great demand in all parts of India and overseas.
The state has a scope to provide for the development of its livestock, which is not restricted to just cows and buffaloes but also other animals like horses, donkeys, pigs, mules, goats and poultry.
With so much scope in sight, it is indeed surprising that the state government has not capitalised on the opportunity to build its brand image in this field. There is tremendous opportunity to develop a fair that is centered on the Murrah and make it an occasion for showcasing Haryana's accomplishments to the world.
Some popular existing cattle based fairs in India
Pushkar Fair, Rajasthan: Perhaps the most popular cattle fair that is also been developed as a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan. Every year in winters, the Pushkar fair draws large crowds of international tourists who come here to savour the exotic with the traditional blend of culture in India. Pushkar has positioned itself as primarily a camel fair which has camel trading as one part, while the other is the cultural and tourist recreation part. Both have their own schedule and offer the tourist an interesting and unique insight in to rural life and festivities.
Sonepur Cattle Fair, Bihar: The fair also known as the Harihar Kshetra Mela and is organised every year on Kartik Poornima. This fair is a combination of cattle and religious congregation and draws large crowds every year.
Nagaur Cattle Fair, Jodhpur, Rajasthan: This fair is celebrated in the Jan-Feb period and is yet another popular destination for international tourists who come for exposure to rural lifestyle and local people who gather for cattle trading.
Jahazgarh Cattle Fair, Jhajjar, Haryana: This is a popular cattle fair in Haryana where a lot of cattle trading takes place. Buyers from all north Indian states visit this fair every year.
The Haryana government had shown great initiative in creating and showcasing handicrafts and craftsmen, by initiating the Surajkund Fair, each year.
The Surajkund Fair was started long before this administration came to power and therefore, it is not surprising that the Hooda government has shown no interest, inclination or initiative to develop the Jahazgarh Fair on the lines of the Pushkar and Nagaur fairs.
Jahazgarh is part of Jhajjar district in Haryana, located on the Delhi-Dadari-Pilani highway and is just 35 kms from the Delhi border, which makes it a very attractive location to showcase Brand Haryana, as a major cattle development and trading destination. This along with top class tourist recreational facilities can easily position Jahazgarh Fair, as one of the most sought-after fairs in India.
It is strange that in spite of being a leader in cattle breeding and development and with the Murrah buffalo as its mascot, Haryana has completely missed the opportunity to build this event as a major tourist event in India. Today, when we speak of cattle fairs, the first name that comes to mind is Pushkar followed by Nagaur but very few in the country and overseas would be aware of the Jahazgarh fair. This is indeed very unfortunate.
The Jahazgarh fair has all the advantages of location, theme, proven cattle success and can have the support of all the leading institutions of Haryana related to cattle development. Put together, this can very easily be positioned as a major event in the international tourist calendar.
All it requires is initiative, political will, creative planning and coordination with tourism related stakeholders and we can create a world class event. The Hooda government has shown very little resolve or interest to showcase Haryana's achievements that could become a much-needed major job creator for all stakeholders related to tourism.
The government could organise veterinary-related international seminars, on-site training and institution oriented excursion for visiting guests. This would automatically help in showcasing to the world, Haryana's achievements in the veterinary field.
In India, cattle trading is still very unorganised and the stakeholders are mostly from rural India. Given the growing dynamics of the dairy and related industry, it is important to build a professional cattle trading platform where a buyer or seller can have a complete documented history of each cattle and its owner and cattle trading is conducted in an organized manner that helps in a buyer or seller get the best and fair price.
Once professionalism enters this space, all buyers and sellers would benefit and this could also help the government in recording cattle census and thus developing related policies. Haryana, has all the infrastructure in place to take the initiative to develop this and a good place to showcase it could be the Jahazgarh Fair. We hope the government is listening.
It is time Haryana took stock of all its advantages and develop a structured program to harness these to its true potential. While this Hooda government has shown little vision to develop this, the state will have to wait for a new government that can bring in a Nayi Soch. It's time to build a Naya Haryana. It's time we reached out to the world.