Hajari Gur: A fading delicacy

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

12 January, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Hajari Gur: A fading delicacy

Date juice collectors prepare Hajari Gur, a variant of molasses, at Jhitka village in Harirampur upazila of Manikganj on Monday. —MD NASIR UDDIN

Hajari Gur, a traditional date molasses, has won people’s hearts for its superior taste and quality.

It is a particular variant of date molasses which is being produced at Jhitka in Harirampur upazila of Manikganj district for the last 200 years.

About 200 years ago, a man named Mohammad Hajari started making this special variety of molasses from date juice, said locals.

Shahid Hajari, a descendent of Mohammad Hajari who makes molasses, said this variety of molasses has gained people’s hearts due to its uniqueness and tradition. “It’s also internationally renowned as well.”

Abdul Gaffar, upazila agriculture officer of Harirampur, said the molasses was named by Queen Elizabeth II of England during her Dhaka visit.

When she went to break a piece of molasses, it shattered into pieces, he said, adding that the Queen then uttered ‘thousand’ whereby it was named ‘Hajari’. 

The production of Hajari Gur has, however, declined as the number of date trees is on the wane in the area, Shahid said, adding that adverse weather leads to lower quality of juice. “Thicker juice can increase the production, which is possible in bone-chilling cold.”

People visit their village to collect date juice molasses for producing different kinds of cakes during the winter season.

The demand for date molasses sees a rise in the capital and other parts of the country in the winter as people make different traditional winter cakes with it.

To make the special molasses, date juice collectors (locally called gachhi) harvest juice from each tree after a three-day gap. High quality juice is needed from the tree to make the molasses.            

The quality and taste of molasses made from date juice collected every three days are different from other date molasses, said Shirin, wife of Shahid Hajari.

This unique quality of molasses is ensured through different processes after collecting the juice from trees every morning, she said.

Shirin said they can get 5-6 bins (hari) of juice each day and can produce around 5 kg of date molasses but it depends on the quality of juice.

Zahid Hazari, Shahid’s brother, said 30-35 date juice collectors are engaged in producing Hajari Gur at their village and adjacent ones.

Everyone produces 5-7 kg molasses every day from juice they harvested from 100-110 trees, he said.

They sell each kg of Hajari Gur at Tk 1,500 and all of their molasses are sold from their house by the afternoon, Shirin said, adding that people and traders from different areas come to their house to buy it.

Date molasses is a type of molasses that is made from date juice. In the heat of the date, the juice is turned thick. According to the type, date molasses can be divided into Jholagur, Danagur, Patali, Chitagur, etc.