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Food, fun rides attract crowd on last day of Chhapaar mela

With Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) becoming the third largest crowd puller after Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress, the annual mela in Chhapaar village can rightly be called the confluence of political conferences.

punjab Updated: Sep 10, 2014 13:21 IST
HT correspondent
HT correspondent
Hindustan Times

With Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) becoming the third largest crowd puller after Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Congress, the annual mela in Chhapaar village can rightly be called the confluence of political conferences.

Large crowds from villages of Ludhiana, Sangrur and Patiala districts in addition to worshippers of Guga Pir (the Naag shrine) from across the country thronged the mela.

By hook or by crook, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) undoubtedly stole the show as the official machinery including the top cops and bureaucrats were at the beck and call of the leaders managing the site of the political conference. Member of legislative assembly (MLA), Dakha, Manpreet Singh Ayali, had convened a number of meetings for the smooth conduct of the conference.

On the other hand, the Congress also managed to put up an impressive show with former MLA and constituency in charge Jassi Khangura taking care of the arrangements of the party’s conference in Chhapaar. Initially, the Congress camp appeared to have scant number, which was just a part of the strategic planning, as the senior leaders gathered their crowd after the Punjab chief minister concluded SAD’s conference at around 1.30 pm.

Not to miss the performance of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which against all odds succeeded in putting up attractive banners, followed by volunteers giving messages to bring a change in the state politics by ousting SAD-BJP and chosing AAP in 2017 assembly elections.

The two stalls put up by the Aam Aadmi Party also drew the biggest crowds witnessed in the mela. The drug de-addiction stall had 2,500 people registering for de-addiction. The right to service stall had people flocking to learn more about how to get the bureaucracy and administration in the state to work for them without having to pay hefty amounts as bribes at every step.

Fair, a mélange of new and old

“Khundis” (sticks with curved ends) festooned with brass and steel still are a favourite with the rustic crowd as was evident from the middle-aged men buying the same at different counters. Similarly, some antique lovers made a beeline for the old brass glasses, pitchers and pots that added to the rustic flavour of the fair. The wooden, handmade toys including trucks and tractors, which have been a part of the stalls in these rural melas too had onlookers and buyers.

At the same time, the stalls of fancy bikes and cars were indeed a new feature in the fair, which were thronged by the young boys apparently from the families of landlords. Multiple stalls of bone china and ceramic crockery having an array of mugs, trays and containers too found some customers. A female cop on duty said, “I have bought a set of six mugs for my mother as she loves serving tea to every visitor coming to our house.”

Food and rides

A fair would not be complete without the rides and food, two most important elements of a mela. As adventurous kids enjoyed the merry go round and giant wheel, there were a few who were happy watching the acrobats at the Apollo circus.

From salty and sweet khejala to mouth watering jalebis and pakoras, the numerous stalls had people savouring their choicest food. The families of traditional madaris including children too found a place in the mela to exhibit their balancing act on ropes.

The legend behind the 150-year-old fair

The legend narrates the story of a boy and a snake born together in an agricultural family of Chhapaar village. The serpent and the boy were so intimate that if one suffered a pain the other used to cry.

One day the mother of the child went to the fields after laying him on a cot. To save him from the scorching sun, the snake stretched its hood over him. Thinking that the snake was going to bite the child, a passerby killed it with a stick. The child died immediately after the death of the snake and the family was left in sorrow.

The family was advised by the elders to perform religious ceremonies to worship Gugga and Sidh. The place was recognised as Mari Gugga where people from all walks of life have been worshipping Gugga on the fourth day of the month of Bhadas every year.
The farmers of the Malwa belt recognise the fair to the extent that they change the agricultural chores according to the dates of the mela.

First Published: Sep 10, 2014 13:14 IST