Ladakh faceoff will not change locals’ perception towards us, says Shimla’s Chinese community
Chinese-origin entrepreneurs in Himachal Pradesh say they are as Indian as anybody and a war, be it with any nation, should be avoidedUpdated: Jun 24, 2020 14:12 IST
CHANDIGARH: Shimla’s handmade Chinese shoes are perhaps as big a tourist draw as the verdant hills themselves.
The shoes and lip-smacking Chinese delicacies, particularly the momos, have become a part of the state’s culture. While people across the nation have called for a boycott of Chinese products after the Galwan Valley standoff, Chinese-origin traders here have no reason to complain.
John Chung, the owner of Shimla’s iconic Hopson & Co shoe shop on Mall Road, says, “There has been no change of behaviour towards us. Shimla is a small town everybody knows us. My family came here in the ’50s and the art of shoe-making has been passed down from generation to generation. The third generation of our family has been born and bred in India. We are well integrated and proficient in Hindi.”
On what he felt about the rift in relations between the two countries, he says, “It is a sad development, indeed. Hopefully, things will improve.”
‘FIND DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION’
Brenda Chiu, the proprietor of the popular eatery Dim Sum on Mall Road and the Minsen Beauty Parlour, says, “My grandparents, too, were born in India so China is no longer a country of origin for me. We are all Indians so we don’t feel conflicted about the Indo-Chinese faceoff.”
“A war, be it with any country, needs to be avoided and a diplomatic solution must be sought,” she said.
Ask her if business has been affected and she says, “Business is down everywhere because of Covid-19. Everybody knows us in Shimla and there has been no change in behaviour or any anti-Chinese sentiment towards us. A war will not change locals’ perception towards us.”
Though Chung’s business has been affected because of Covid-19, loyal customers from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh are still placing online orders.
GENERATION GAP, DIFFERENT VOICES
Nirmal Thakur, a retired public sector employee with a penchant for Chinese handmade shoes, says, “The Chinese community in Shimla is as Indian as anybody else. They have been living here for generations. It will be foolhardy of anybody to punish Chinese-origin entrepreneurs over the Indo-Chinese conflict. Yes, the government should reduce import and give impetus to make in India.”
However, Manoj Kumar, 28, a bank officer at a private bank in Shimla, says, “There has definitely been an attitude change towards the Chinese. They are staying here and profiting, while their country of origin is on warpath with us. The government should try to sort out the matter at the diplomatic level and reduce Chinese imports.”