Street vendors do brisk business at rally

Unaware of farmers’ issue but thankful for chance to earn ‘a little extra’

December 01, 2018 01:45 am | Updated 01:45 am IST - New Delhi

Street vendors sell wares to protesting farmers in New Delhi on Friday.

Street vendors sell wares to protesting farmers in New Delhi on Friday.

Street vendors at the Kisan Mukti March in Delhi had a field day on Friday. Though unaware of the farmers’ issue, the sellers were delighted with the extra business.

Lalita, a 27-year-old resident of Nehru Nagar jhuggis, said she usually sets up her bamboo basket filled with plastic toys at Sadar Bazar. However, her neighbour told her about ‘some rally on Sansad Marg’ on Friday.

Mujhe nahi pata ye log kya kar rahe hain, ya kyun aaye hain yahan… main to khilone bhechne aai hun ye sochke do paise zada kama lungi (I do not know what these people are doing or why they have come here… I just came to sell toys thinking I will be able to earn a little extra),” she said, while showing the toys to Munni Kumari, a farmer from Hisar, who wanted to buy a toy for her daughter. Lalita sold three plastic toys to Ms. Munni for ₹100.

‘Was told about big rally’

Ravi, 41, sold jackets and bags for ₹150 and ₹100 each respectively. He said he usually sells in weekly markets of different areas.

“On Thursday, I got a call from a friend saying that a big rally is happening and thousands of people will turn up. I decided to come... I think the rally has something to do about what farmers need,” he said.

Ashu, who usually sets up shop at Red Fort, sold shawls for ₹100 to the protesters. Manju Ram, from Jammu and Kashmir and resident of old Delhi, sold woollen jackets. “Why should we ask anyone why they are here, we have come for work... we know farmers in this country are not treated well and a lot of them are dying,” they said.

However, not all were unaware of why thousands of farmers had come to Delhi.

Arvind Kumar, who was selling books, said: “I am a farmer but I work closely with a library in my village that has its main branch in Delhi. I came to the city two days ago to take my wife to the hospital. When I was told about the rally, I decided to come here and sell books. The farmers’ demands need to be heard,” he said. The books, all in Hindi, related to the agrarian crisis.

A photographer, who gave instant prints for ₹20, lamented that he was not getting much business.

“They are poor farmers. They have not come here to make memories. Why will they get clicked? But there are people who have gotten clicked with farmers to show solidarity,” he said.

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