AFTER THE initial hiccup due to rain on Dhanteras day, the markets more than made up for the setback in the days to follow with both buyers and sellers having lost none of their enthusiasm.
The two biggest festivals of the sub-continent - Diwali and Id (which has been delayed by a day and is being celebrated on Wednesday instead of Tuesday) – have kept the markets abuzz with festive bargaining and transactions. A shift in trend in the celebration pattern is also visible.
On Tuesday, people were busy making last-minute purchases at local markets for celebration of Id. The appearance of moon this evening brought cheer in the Muslim community and large number of families – women in traditional burqa and children wearing skullcaps – headed towards the market for the best bargains of the day. The markets in Old Bhopal remain open throughout the night.
Though steep price hike and inflation rate (pegged at 5.1 per cent) threatened consumers and had a dampening effect on Diwali market and percolated to the Ramzan market as well, hats off to the festive spirit of Bhopalites, who have kept the market alive. The month of Ramzan proved a major factor to boost the turnover of the local wholesale and retail markets. The sale of dry fruits showed considerable growth due to increased demand, especially of dates, as these were used to end the day-long fast.
This Id – known as Id-Ul-Fitr or ‘Meethi Id’ - there is abundance of dry fruit varieties in the market, with almond priced at Rs 300-330 per kg, almond pieces Rs 290, cashew nut Rs 285-325 and pieces Rs 200-210, raisins (kishmish) Rs 120-130, pistachio Rs 340-370, salted pistachio Rs 290-300, munnakka Rs 260-290, chironji Rs 220 and walnut Rs 120-140 per kg.
These nuts and raisins are also available in mixed form at a lower price for those with less cavernous pockets. Fresh dates were priced at Rs 20-40 per kg and dates from Iran at Rs 40-55 per kg. Coconut and its other varieties like dry wholesome coconut and grated one were also in demand.
Arrival of ‘sewaiyyan’ is seen as an indication of Id-Ul-Fitr and a wide variety of the commodity is available, along with Sheermal (form of bread), in the markets of Old Bhopal.
However, this season, in addition to the usual stuff, new varieties like Banarasi, Allahabadi and Ahmedabadi ‘sewaiyyan’ are also available to cater to consumers’ changing tastes.
To feel the pulse of real Id market, one positively needs to visit Chowk, Lakherapura, Jumerati, Ibrahimpura, Jehangirabad and Ghoda Nakkas in Old Bhopal, where commodities have been displayed attractively giving an added festive touch. The USP of the mass market is reasonable pricing of commodities for the common man. Sale offers have been floated in garments, footwear and some daily consumer durables.
“During Id, a Muslim needs to wear everything new from head to toe, so there’s always big buying during the festival,” said a trader at Chowk Bazaar.
However, over the years, there has been a change in clothing, as readymade garments have to a large extent replaced the traditional stitched ones. Along with Lucknow’s famous ‘Chikan’ kurta and embroidered ‘sherwanis’, designer kurtas priced up to Rs 2,500 have added a new dimension to this Id.
According to some senior citizens, there has been a change in trend in Id celebration, in comparison to the past, which they attribute to the arrival of new economy. “Treating near and dear ones at home has been replaced at several places by treats at restaurants. Along with ‘sewaiyyan’ and ‘sheer-khurma’, chocolate has been added to the list by the new generation,” says a septuagenarian of Koh-e-Fiza.