BANKING TRADE AND COMMERCE

FAIRS

During old days fairs were important centres of trade. However, with the development of transport and communication facilities, opening of retail shops in the villages and growth of urbanisation, the fairs are now losing their former economic significance though some fairs such as those at Barshi, Pandharpur. Mohol, Wadwal and Sholapur still claim to retain their importance as centres of trade. These fairs are occasions of brisk trading activity and the villagers still flock to purchase their annual requirements of cattle and other goods.

An account of fairs given in the old Sholapur District Gazetteer published in 1884 is reproduced below:—

"Of nineteen fairs held in the district one held at Sholapur on the 12 of January, three held at Pandharpur in April, July and November and one held at Sonari in April are the most important. The details are:—

SHOLAPUR FAIRS, 1884

Name

Month

People

Sale

Sholapur

  

Sholapur

January

5,000

7,500

Bale

December

5,000

1,350

Madha

 

 

 

Madha

October

300

90

Shetphal

April

1,000

70

Mohol

April

1,000

80

Vadval

May

1,000

40

Akol

May

1,000

30

Karmala

 

 

 

Sonari

April

7,000

630

Pandharpur

 

 

 

Pandharpur

April

25,000

6,000

 

July

1,20,000

14,000

 

November

70,000

20,600

Machnur

February

3,000

60

Malsiras

 

 

 

Natepute

March

3,000

12

Mahalung

April

4,000

4

Dahigaon

November

1,000

13

Tarangphal

February

700

2

SHOLAPUR FAIRS, 1884—contd.

Name

Month

People

Sale

Sangola

  

Dahivadi

May

5,000

100

Yeola

May

6,000

180

Vatambre

April and December

1,000

   4

The fairs are places for distributing as well as for gathering goods. The sellers are generally Vanis, Lingayats, Kasars and cultivators. The chief articles for sale are cloth, pots, grain, glass bangles, and live-stock. The buyers are towns-people, pilgrims, and neighbouring villagers. There is no barter." [Gazetteer of the Bombay Presidency, Volume XX, Sholapur, 1884, pp. 262-63.]

Many of the fairs are held after the harvest season. A large amount of sale and purchase of agricultural produce takes place at these fairs, where traders of all castes and creed assemble. Now fairs are held more in the nature of a commercial activity though they have still not lost their religious significance. The turn-over of commercial transactions at such fairs is considerable as compared to that in a weekly bazar. Pedlars, hawkers and retail traders who set up their booths at  the site of fairs do flourishing business.

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