Indore: ‘Snapping’ bond with Beijing takes a toll on Raksha Bandhan
FP VIEW: Even as the country has “risen” with the clarion call to become Atmanirbhar, sluggishness seems to be huge factor which is pulling down our prosperity. Raksha Bandhan, despite being a Bharatiya parab, the ‘string of sibling bonding’ catches the eye or rather ire when it’s made in the Dragon land. It’s cheaper and has a wide variety and for years, the Indian market failed to rise to the occasion to give a nudge. We got rakhis in “dime and dozen” from China in a bid to make a quick fortune through its sale. If we are so unprepared even in these aspects, isn’t it a matter of huge concern that we have miles or rather light years to traverse before we can catch the fancy of our buyers while keeping out profits secure… Same applies in all sectors and categories... this is something we need to introspect deeply.

It’s a double jolt for the markets. First it was corona which had cast its evil eye on the marketing prospects of Raksha Bandhan and then to add to the woes further, the Dragon has spit venom too… How? Read on….

Set for the bandhan bash on August 3, this year the fizz is missing from the market. Understandably, the corporate push isn’t there too. Willing to tie “the bond”, but yet scared of the viral infection, people aren’t venturing out to get their designer rakhis and it is needless to say that worst-hit are the shopkeepers who are facing the brunt badly in terms of dwindling sales.

But corona, it seems, is not a primary aspect which has punched holes in the business. The recent brush with China and the subsequent sentiments of boycotting Chinese products has further pushed the enthusiasm deeper into a whirlpool of uncertainty. This year, designer rakhis which used to be shipped in from Beijing aren’t being anchored at our “ports”. And the desi counterpart of “kachche dhaage” aren’t that jazzy. The shining and attractive Chinese rakhis had a high demand in the market and the shopkeepers used to mint a fortune.

Shiv Sharma, rakhi trader, said, “Earlier, fancy Chinese rakhis, despite being expensive had a huge demand and we earned a handsome margin. This time the desi rakhis are available but they lack the luster and are no match to garner attraction of buyers. As a result, even if the buyer “chooses’ to procure our cheaper stuff, we (shopkeepers) are left with almost no profit.”

Hemukesh Yogi and his wife Anita, had visited the city from Ujjain to buy a bagful of Rakhis to make hay in their city. They own a shop at Gopal Mandir in Ujjain. They said, “Every year we buy rakhis worth thousands of rupees from Indore but this time we have limited our stock.” They lamented that they had taken orders from all-time customers who prefer fancy rakhis but in the absence of such stuff, they feel that their business might take a beating.

On the other hand, beyond the Chinese “connecton” whatever is left of the business is pathetic. Corona has had its share. Laxman Balchandani, shopkeeper at Khatipura area said the viral infection has eclipsed the market in an unprecedented manner. People from nearby cities and villages used to frequent Indore to buy designer rakhis but this year due to lockdown and other Covid protocol in place, the buyers’ march has been thwarted. Also, the odd-even shop rule has impacted business.

Cloth trader, Pradeep Gokhru, also hummed the same tone. He said, “There’s hardly any buyer. People are a scared lot. Even if they are venturing out, they are buying provisions and necessary items. On their part, cash crunch is also a major factor which has drowned the market in deep woes.

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