200-yr old dried-fish fair where barter system still exists | The Daily Star
09:11 PM, April 15, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 09:30 PM, April 15, 2019

200-yr old dried-fish fair where barter system still exists

An exceptional fair of dried-fish is being held in Nasirnagar upazila of Brahmanbaria every year for the last two centuries, where barter system still exists.

Bartar system had been the mode of exchange in the ancient times before the introduction of coinage to ease trade. In this system, one could sale his product to someone in exchange of some other products that he would like to have. In the past, this form of transaction mostly included agricultural products.

For the past 200 years, local Hindu fishermen community has been arranging this dried-fish fair on the second day of the Bangla month Baishakh where they would sale their dried-fish products in exchange of rice, potato, onion, garlic, mango and other agricultural produces, said Parimal Das, general secretary of the upazila fishermen association.

In recent times, the fishermen are selling their products in exchange of currency as well, however, the barter system is also being continued as a form of tradition, he said.

The fair begins at dawn and ends at the dusk.

“We have been enjoying the fair since our childhood. Fishermen, farmers and villagers of the locality participate in the fair traditionally,” said Tapan Das, a member of the association.

“Merchants from Chattogram, Sylhet, Sunamganj and other parts of the country also come here and sell dried-fish. People from adjoining areas come to the fair to buy varieties of dried-fish,” he added.

Visiting the fair, our correspondent saw hundreds of small traders had set up stalls on the Kulikunda Government Primary School ground.

Dried-fish of native species like boal, shol, baim, shing, koi, puti, tengra, taki, kanchki, different varieties of dried sea fish, and eggs of hilsha were seen in the fair. 

Jamil Furkan, a teacher of Nasirnagar Government College, said he visits the fair every year and buys dried-fish and sends those to his native home in Kushtia.

Animesh Das, a trader from Sunamganj, said the number of customers is more than previous years but the sale is not satisfactory this year.

Mohammad Saiful Kabir, upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) of Nasirnagar, said, “We strictly supervise the fair so that traders and customers from different parts of the country aren’t harassed. We want this fair to continue forever.”

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