Writing the annals of any organization is never an easy task as it is necessary to mention not only its success but the failures too. It is expedient to know the past of any association not only in order to run it smoothly in the present as well as the future but also to get a firsthand knowledge of its modus operandi and learn lessons not to repeat its failures and mistakes.

Although it is a fact that only proven or actual events are chronologically recorded in history but sometimes it is given a new dimension by incorporating hearsay and proof of the happenings which are gathered from the dark unfathomed caves of the mother earth.

The records of the resolutions adopted at the executive Committee meetings and General Meetings of Hardware Merchants' Association and also other important events which took place, are available only after 1969, when the association was formed. When Sri Satya Narayan Sinhal and Sri Deokinandan Agarwal two senior members were contacted for having a knowledge about the main events of the period before 1969, it was found that the concept of forming an association and also its preliminary works had started way back in 1950 i.e. half a century ago.

There were only a countable number of shop of hardware goods in the town at that time and they were located at Mahabirsthan and Hill Cart Road. Sevoke Road was just passing through its childhood period. And also there was no panic and harassment of either Sales Tax or Income Tax Deptt. at that time. There was an influx of refugees after the partition of the country and at the same time, as the post independent India was passing through a period of alround development, the hard ware business was also poised for a big thrust. With the advent of the refugees coupled with used to open their shops early in the morning and continued till late at night. They could hardly spare any time for rest or entertainment. In order to overcome all these sorts of problems people started mixing with each other. This association was started under the name of "Chamber of Hardware Merchants" Prominent businessmen of hardware at this time were Sri Dewatram Bhupal, Gayaprasad Kedia, Sukhlall Minda, Tejmal ]agdish Prasad, Phoolchand Brothers, Sinhal Brothers, Rameswar Dass Gopiram, Siliguri Bajrang Stores, Piyarelall & Co. etc.

They were the persons, who planted the seeds of this association and it has taken almost twenty years for the seeds to germinate. In the meantime, these people started meeting at some one's house, used to have a tea party and discuss matters of mutual interest. Shops of Hill Cart Road used to remain closed on Sundays and these on the other side of Railway Gate on: Thursday, for this purpose.

As the tea gardens started facing problems because of this duel system of weekly closure, it was decided to have a uniform day i.e. Sunday as the weekly holiday and also a consensus was reached to regularize the time of opening & closing of shops. Thus the seedlings of the association started sprouting after this sort of conventions were formed against the self imposed barriers.

With the passing of time the number of Hardware shops increased with a simultaneous increase in their problems. People who used to host the meetings in their homes had their own problems and also keeping in view the possibility of misplacement of files, registers, papers & documents etc. it was decided to take on rent an office room at Sevoke Road in 1969 and thereafter all the meeting of the association started to be held regularly at this place.

Thus, in the year 1969, this organization duly came into existence and was named as "HARDWARE MERCHANTS' ASSOCIATION" and late Sri Laxinarayanji was elected as its founder President and Sri Gajanand Goyal has the honored of becoming the Founder Secretary of our association. Late Sri Laxminarayaanji was a man of multidimensional personality. He was an active and dedicated worker and educationist. He was associated with many Social & Educational Institution of Siliguri viz. Siliguri Darjeeling Gaushalla, Siliguri Hind High school, Merchants Association etc.

Our association was registered under the Trade Union Act, 1926 on 8th August, 1970 and Sri Nanda Bhusan Daw, Sri Gajanand Goyal, Sri H. M. Baid, Sri Ramchandar Goyal, Sri Ramswarup Agarwal, Sri Amar Chand Agarwal & Sri Om Prakash Agarwal ( Piyarelall & Co. ) were duly nominated as members of the Trustees.

We are indebt to all those great men who formed this association a quarter of century ago and are still actively associated with it & guiding the young and new ones.

We are really proud of the fact that this association is not only looking after the interest of its members or for that matter of the business people only but is actively involved in the greater service of the members of the Society at large.

In this context, a sum of Rs. 4,873/- was Collected from its members and donated to the College construction committee of ' Ghandhi Memorial College ' but for some reasons the construction of the College building could not materialize and this amount was received back which was subsequently deposited in the Association Fund. In the Executive Committee meeting held on 23.10.71, it was decided to keep the shops & establishments closed afternoon On the occasion of ' Gopasstami ' and in the same meeting members were asked not to sell goods to one specific tea garden till its management clears dues and outstanding of our members, Not only this tea garden but members were requested not to sell goods to all back listed parties either by cash or on credit.

In 1972 it was decided to distribute the Kalipuja Donation through the association and for that purpose all the members were divided into different categories according to their business activities. According to the official record, the membership strength at that time was 47. Fruits where distributed among the patients of a local Hospital on the occasion of Republic day, the same year. Some of the Gazetted holidays viz. (i) Republic Day, (ii) Doljatra (holi), (iii) May day (labour day); (iv) Independence day, (v) Vijaya Dashmi & (vi), Gopa Asthami were duly approved as public holidays for the members and it was decided to keep shops & establishments closed on these holidays.
In the year 1973, our association became the member of the Co-ordination Committees of local association which was duly formed and Sri. N. B. Daw was nominated to be our representative to this committee. Membership certificates were issued and the proposal for publishing a monthly bulletin was discussed in the same year. It was also decided to distribute the Durga puja donation through the association in the meeting held on 8.9.73.

On 2.5.74 the scheduled time for opening of shops was fixed at 10 A.M. and for closing 7.30 P.M. but it was rescheduled as 9 A.M. and 7.00 P.M. on the suggestions of the members. Shops were to be closed at 2.00 P.M. on Saturdays and to remain fully closed on Sundays. In the same year a meeting was held with the Officers of the Commercial Tax Department and the problems regarding Sales Tax  were discussed. A resolution was passed' on 28.8.74 to increase the salary of all staff by 20% and on 8.11.74 a meeting was held by the members of all Executive Committee with the Area Officer of N. F. Rly. The year 1974 was full of events. Flood relief fund to the tune of Rs.11,000 was raised from the members for donating to the affected people of North Bengal by the natural calamity which occurred at the time of Durga Puja. To cope with the increasing expenses of the association followed by the members as well the Agents fees. A sum of Rs. 2000 was donated to the Sports association on the request of the S, D, O, Siliguri further, 61 nos. of woolen blankets were given to the welfare center for distribution among the needy people.
This association supported the BANDH call given on 26.10.79 by the apex body of the traders i.e. Federation of Indian chamber of Commerce & Industries ( FICCI ). Thus we come to the year 1980 i.e. almost a decade of time has shipped by. Now, the strength of the Executive Committee was raised from 15 to 21. It was then decided to collect the monthly subscription biannually instead of monthly as this process was very time consuming. The eligibility of becoming a member of this Association was also earmarked this year.
Beside this , this year on 13.2.80, the logo of the association was also finalized.

With the objective of providing better services to its member the system of sub-committees was introduced and following Sub-Committees ware formed in 1981.
    1. Worker relation development Committee.
    2. Arbitration Committee.
    3. Membership Development Committee.
    4. Finance Committee.
    5. Attendance Committee.
    6. Public Relation Committee.
    7. Advisory Committee.
On 25.4.81, it was decided to buy a plot of land measuring 4/5 Katts for the construction of Association building and in the same year all the shops & establishments of its members remained closed on 5.5.81 in full support of a ‘BHARATBANDH’ call given by All India Food Grains Merchants’ Association Delhi against the implementation of the Essential Commodities ( special Provision Act ), 1981.

Although, some sort of pressure was continuously being created for the acceptance of the reasonable & unreasonable demand of the workers, but it was in the year 1947, that they gave their Charter of Demand of this association which could not be conceded and as such no agreement was reached . The untoward activities of the concerned Union were on the increase and as a result some sort of bitterness & unpleasantness in the behavior of the workers was growing .Call for token strike was given by the Union in1978 in order to get their demand accepted. On the other hand the business community was as North Bengal Motor Parts Dealers Association, decided to keep their shops &establishments closed in the protest against this strike by the Union. Perhaps, this was the longest strike in the history of Siliguri observed by the business community which stretched to consecutive 12 long days .Not only these two association but all other Trade Organizations of the town pulled down their shutters in supports & full sympathy for the cause of these associations. During the period of this strike even such a time came when the procession of the two rival groups i.e. the association & the union confronted each other and resulted in a scuffle. But this, inspite of some members getting injured, enhanced their confidence, unity & determination for the struggle. In the process. Hardware Merchants' Association and North Bengal Motor Parts Dealers Association and came nearer to each other & strengthened their ties. Finally, for the first time in 1978 an agreement was signed with the Union for 4(four) years and in this way on the one hand this Marriage was solemnized and on the other, seeds were sown for a long & continuous struggle on the issue.
The agreement reached in 1978 with the union ceased to operate after 1981 and again the tug of war started. After being fed up with their misbehaviors, well planned attacks and unreasonable demands, a joint meeting was arranged between the H.M.A. & N.B.M.D.A. at Adarsha Balika Vidyalaya on 24.9.81 and it was decided to go on an indefinite strike from 28th September till the situation improves. Local Administrative officials were contacted and memorandums were given to them against the atrocities of the union but they adopted a neutral posture as the issues were related to the workers and left the traders to manage their own affairs. The same situation more or less continues to day also but the businessmen have learnt to live against these odds and are now brave enough to face these problems with a firm hand become one in time of crisis.

In 1982, a board containing the roll of Honor of all the post office bearers of the Associations was placed in the office as a mark of respect to them.
For construction of Kanchanjunga stadium which is a matter of pride not only for the people of Siliguri but also the whole of North Bengal. this association kept active part with the FOCIN and as a result of which the naming of the main entrance as FOCIN GATE and also a portion of the sitting gallery as BYABSAYEE SANGH BLOCK will always Illuminate the honour of the business community in the life of this town.
When the clouds are thinking of taking a rest after showing rains continuously for 4 months and the shivering cold in the atmosphere knocks at the door, are happy to have been able to fulfill the spirations of the buds of green tea, the earness of green gold in North Bengal are at their full bloom and at this very time when the workers their family members by getting the year long cherised fruits in the form of BONUS, at this very time the all loving & greatly adorned Goddess mother DURGA along with GODDESSES of learning & wealth come down to the earth. In order to get a touch of love and affection of the Mother Durga, people of all ages come out on the street to celebrate the festivals. Among all those illuminated Puja Pandles, a small but purposeful JAN SEVA KENDRA is set up by Hardware Merchants' Association for quenching the thirst of lakhs of Puja Visitors. It also provides first Aid facilities and acts as an unnamed island among the vast ocean for those who are lost or separated from their near & dear ones. This small task is being carried out by our association continuously since 1984.
Besides this we have also extended our helping hand to others sections of the Society as well as to the Administration. Be it a programme of Sub-divisional Sports meet Inter- District Women's Sport meet ' 86 parade competition among the students on the occasion pf independence day or a donation to North Bengal Deaf and Dumb School, or to provide artificial limbs to the physically handicapped or welfare work for the tribal of the region , this association has never lagged behind in these efforts.

For the first time in the year 1986, a blood donation camp was organized by this association on the request of 'Voluntary Blood Donation Organization' and some 15 members of this association donated their blood. After the maiden venture , this programme is being carried out more or less every year . Voluntary Blood Donation is an important work itself because no other mechanical device except the God gifted Human body is capable of manufacturing even a drop of this fluid. Now , even the ladies from the families of ours members are coming out to contribute in this noble task.

Out of 365 days in a year, one day can bay allotted to the nature, Yes, man is closely associated with the forest and its fauna from the time immemorial. To-day also he wants to long to be with the Mother Nature at least for a day away from the mechanical life and its drudgery. The winter days of shorter duration, its pleasant sun shine, sound of the water fall and the autumn changing the dress of Mother Nature all attract him and to be closseted with this beautiful atmosphere, we go out for a PICNIC. Although, organization of Picnic by the Association was started way back in 1973 but to-day it has gained such an important place that even the ladies, children & all participate in it with full enthusiasm. The management of this event is so perfect that members wait for next year picnic right from .the day they come back home and this year picnic is remembered till the next. Sports is organized for participants of all ages even the old who recollect their childhood day and the food is so delicious that its taste cannot be forgotten for weeks to come.

Both Sales Tax and E.C. Act are great problems to the business men. Probably any business organization has to struggle hard against these two enactment. Hardware Merchant’ Association is no exception in this matter and as such it has to cope with this problems equally stop for the first time in the year 1974, it was decided to have a meeting with the sales tax officials , an committee was formed for the propose. After that, the process of meeting as well periodical ‘Bandh’ is continuously going on till now. Protest letters were sent to the appropriate Govt. authorities in 1987 against the implementation of Octroi, Turnover tax, professional tax etc. A strike by the traders was observed on 27.7.87 called by the merchants association, Siliguri. Our representatives also participated in the great convention organized by F.T.A. on 28.7.90 some of our members also took part in the hunger strike organized FOCIN in front of the Asst. Commissioner’s of Sales Tax Office.
Bifurcations & illumination of Hill Cart Road & Sevoke Road was taken by the municipality . Footpaths also made on both side of the road full co-operation were given by the association to the Siliguri municipality for this project. Displaying of samples in front of the shops of the traders of Sevoke road resulted in a feery clash with the police men who are started seizing these samples and arresting the shop owners arbitrarily. How could police man tolerate any sort of protest against their acts and that also by the people of the business community. So they started to show their cruel teeth and in the process many traders were mercilessly beaten and arrested. All markets of Siliguri remain closed for three days and a number of meeting were held. At this hour of crisis, unparalleled courage & strength was displayed by the entire business community.

Association had entered its 16th year of existence and as the child grows up, the parent's naturally start working for his settlement. Similarly need was felt by the members of this association to have their own building. Keeping this in view, a resolution was unanimously adopted in the A.G.M. held in 1986 to buy a piece of land for the purpose.

Shortly afterwards a plot of approx. 6.25 Kathas of land was purchased. On 20.10.88 on the day of Vijaya Dashami. The 'BHUMI PUJA' was performed and on the auspicious day of 23rd January '89 i.e. Netaji's Birth Day the construction of building was started. The roof of ground floor was cast on 23.12.89 and the National Flag was unfurled on this roof on the occasion on Independence Day’ i.e. 26.1.90.

It is not that everything went well & Smooth throughout but all the hurdles were cleared by the determination and the courage of strength. Gradually the work advanced toward its goal. And finally the auspicious day come when even couples dressed in traditional attires and carrying the holy water contained in the holy vases proceeded to the new building amidst the chanting of Vedic mantras. This was the house warming ceremony of the association building as every thing needs a name for its identification,  suggestion were invited from our members for giving a respectable name to the newly constructed building. Among all the proposals received, name 'HMA CENTRE', as suggested by Sri S. N. Agarwal, Sanjay Hardware & Electric Stores was unanimously approved as it perfectly denotes its purpose.

The process of Silver Jubilee celebration thus got off to a colorful start which subsequently included staging of cultural programmers by the children of the members of this association.

At last the long awaited they has come when the building is formally going to be inaugurated -  15th Jan 1994 are marked as festive day when all the invited guests and the members of the public are gathered at HMA CENTRE to celebrate the formal inauguration of the new building and closing ceremony of the Silver jubilee celebrations . All the members are greeting each others. Thus a dream came true and now HMA CENTER will always stand as a mark of our unity , determination and self confidence.