Local haat is the nerve center of tribal life. It is not merely an economic institution; more than that, it is a social institution for the tribes. Haat is also a lifeline for tribes where they not only barter their weekly needs it is also a great meeting point to share a drink.
Local Tribal Haat (weekly markets) are the heart of tribal economy. The haats that come up at intervals of seven days at particular places, offer a peek into the socioeconomic and cultural life of local tribal communities. They are not merely a place for selling and purchasing commodities, but provides a platform for local tribal folks to communicate and share views, ideas and news of their respective villages. Tribals trek several kilometers to reach these haats. It is not limited to mere shopping and marketing. It provides scope for showcasing recreation and social interaction. Here, the tribal folks exchange information about family, marriages, festivals and larger tribal council meetings. Tribal men and women clad in their traditional attire add colour to the gathering and the whole haat provides a festive look.
The products are earthy, endemic to tribal living and consist of rice, vegetables, tobacco, salt and other groceries, several non-timber forest produces, tribal ornaments and bangles, brooms and utilities prepared by the tribals, other daily needs, clothes and few factory made products. Small and marginal tribal farmers who fail to take their products to larger markets find haat as the best option to transact their products. Hundreds of tribal folks from many different villages, each specializing in a different craft or skill, converge in one spot to trade their wares. While some haats provide some kind of geographical indication about the availability of typical products like vegetables or NTFPs or cattle, some offer a glimpse of local cultures and traditions. Haat days are sometimes brought to a close with the climax of cockfighting.
It provides opportunities for social interactions, exchanges and acculturation. Haat is the place to understand tribal enterprises. Tribal Haat provide a glimpse of the social, cultural and commercial lifestyle of the local tribals. Thus, under the auspices of SDC, the renovation of facilities and beautification of tribal haats have been undertaken in all SDC districts.