The holy month of Ramzan heralds for Muslims a period of fasting, sacrifice, restraint and humility. They set out to buy the traditional items that must accompany their prayers, which they offer five times a day. One such item that is inevitably present on the list is the ‘taqiyah’, the short, rounded cap that is worn while visiting the mosque.
Shops across the city have geared themselves up to supply caps by stocking up well in advance. For them, Ramzan is the biggest sales season of the year. Several cap traders can be found in the vicinity of the mosques to clinch sales during prayer times.
A customer would be spoilt for choice by the wide variety of caps the traders have on display: the ubiquitous ordinary white ones, soft-texture caps with different blends of colours, hand-woven ones decorated with beautiful borders, and even a few of those intricately-embroidered kind.
The price tags on these caps range from anywhere between Rs. 30 and Rs. 40 for the ordinary white cap to nearly Rs. 600 for the more exquisite Barkati/Omani caps. These caps are usually sourced from different parts of the country, including Delhi and Mumbai as well as from countries such as China, Bangladesh and Indonesia, said a trader.
Syed Umar, a cap trader near Sultan Shah mosque in Shivajinagar, says, “Our sales rise by almost 30 per cent during the Ramzan season. This year, the demand for the local caps is more as the prices have shot up for the imported ones due to the fall of the rupee.” His stall is three-generations old, and his family has been in the business for almost 70 years now.
“We sell hand-woven caps as well as the machine-embroidered ones. This year’s Ramzan special is a new variety called ‘Haar’ which we have sourced from Mumbai,” he adds, before he turns to show his wares to a new customer.
Demand for local caps is more this year as the falling rupee has driven up prices for imported ones