Firecracker vendor Mohan Dhakad’s patriotic sentiment is out on display. A hand-written notice at his roadside makeshift shop in Bhopal makes it amply clear: “‘Mera Bharat mahan. Na Chini, na Pakistani; Har samaan Hindustani’ (My India is great. No Chinese, no Pakistani; every article is made in Hindustan).”
Dhakad used to earn Rs 1,500- Rs 2,000 daily on an average by selling Chinese products, including firecrackers. But post Uri attack, he switched over to products made in the country.
Is this love for the country or something else that prompted him to stop buying and selling Chinese articles? “Both,” he says explaining he was really upset over Pakistan and China’s anti-India stand and activities.
But, Dhakad reveals his regular customers made him think by repeatedly appealing him to go ‘swadeshi’. “More than 100 customers appealed me to desist from selling Chinese articles. I respect their sentiments too.” He plans to sell local made garments after Diwali.
Anti-China sentiments among people given Beijing’s support to Islamabad may not have affected the market much, but sale of Chinese crackers and lights is hit to some extent. “This is just the beginning. We cannot expect the market to change overnight. People are also realising the importance of quality as well which many Chinese products don’t offer,” says Santosh Kumar Agrawal of Akhil Bhartiya Udyog Vyapar Mandal.
Manoj Agrawal of New Market Sarrafa Association feels 10% to 20% sale is affected due to anti-China sentiment. “Mostly, it has affected the sales of lights and crackers. Many people are unaware at all that many Chinese products are being sold without ‘Made in China’ logo.”
Ghoda Nakkas Vyapari Sangh president DK Verma says there are many shopkeepers who didn’t place any order for China products. But those, who had already ordered for such products, were clearing their stocks, he adds.
Jaikishenlal Chandani of Bhopal Electricals Merchants Association, however, feels it’s difficult to overcome the challenges posed by Chinese products until India begins mass production to compete with its neighbour.