While walking down one of the busy market areas one cannot help but notice the sheer energy bustling out of that place, I am talking of none other than our very own Indian local bazaars. The animated life it pictures…of vendors screaming, people bargaining, carts full of fresh veggies and fruits and the endless lanes of grocery stores. It is quite amazing that bazaars have survived this long, standing against time right from its inception probably which dates back to the kings and queens, till today, a time of malls, mushrooming in almost every metro city. The significance of bazaars cannot be ignored, this is a place where you find almost everything yet with an affordable price, probably this is one of those reasons that keep it alive, pumping its energy because we cannot deny the fact that the mall going crowd in India is rich no doubt, but it is fairly new and the middle class population or the lower class is greater in number. While malls are a new concept in India, it is that neighborhood grocery store or mom-and-pop store that is always close to your place and you go to buy the smallest of things. Indian bazaars are like a part of our culture, almost every Indian will have a memory of his/her childhood, flocking down the busy bazaar with their parents and trust me that is an experience to keep. Sometimes with simple lanes and sometimes twisted maze like lanes, with lights from stolen electricity probably the nearest transformer, bazaars are a fascinating place. What keeps it going is its never ending demand, people would rather come here for the fresh products brought by the villagers than go to malls where both prices and freshness might often be a questionable aspect.
Indian bazaars are a part and parcel of the economy; its survival has been quite in controversy and a major reason for the debate over opening up the Indian economy for foreign direct investment. Because what FDI claims is a lower price of goods which is quite a tempting prospect, however it might be detrimental for Indian bazaars. India is growing at a fast pace, yes our GDP has gone down a considerable level in recent times which is negative to the economy, however what must be kept in mind is its effect on the common man. Not everyone is able to afford to go mall hopping, this is due to the fact that employment level is not equal to the population explosion our country is facing.
With a population of more than a billion and scarce resources not everyone’s income level is the same, also with the ever looming problem of price rise it becomes quite difficult for the lower strata’s of society to make ends meet. Bazaars play a significant role here, by providing goods with lower prices and also offering the benefit of bargaining, they have a major role in helping these people survive of course I am not against malls or FDI but given the economic issues faced by our country things need to be considered twice. What if such economic plans are implemented without a second thought, how will people survive? It seems our local grocery stores are facing a threat of extinction. Something which never crosses our mind because there is this sub-conscious thought that they are here to stay.
Indian economy is still in its developing stages and needs to be nurtured. It has this strong connection with bazaars which while providing with lower rates on goods is also a means of livelihood for the shop owners. What if that old man from the village who comes to sell these fresh vegetables has no one to buy from him because there is some mall or some mega store claiming to sell better stuff than him? For the owners there is nothing to worry about, they have made huge secured investments but it is those helpless people who will be devoid of a means of livelihood.
Amidst this chaos there is a beauty in bazaars, the hopes of vendors to make a good profit, that smile on some auntie’s face after a satisfactory bargain, that twinkle in a little kid’s eye who has come to the bazaar for the first time, that uncle who just bought a kilogram of his favorite fish and that old man from the village who sold all his goods. Bazaars have a story of their own, every day and somewhere in that story there is a motive to survive, of both the buyers and the sellers. Without our typical Indian bazaars it would feel awkward, to be replaced by only malls and such other big departmental stores it would not feel like India…