Mumbai: Women Micro-Entrepreneurs Rule The Roost At East Indian Bazaar In Bandra

Mumbai: Women Micro-Entrepreneurs Rule The Roost At East Indian Bazaar In Bandra

Food was indeed in the spotlight at the fair, with the release of two books on East Indian cooking, 'Christmas with the Rebellos' and 'East Indian Celebration'.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, November 19, 2023, 09:07 PM IST
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East Indian Bazaar |

Women micro-entrepreneurs ruled the roost at the 'East Indian Bazaar' at St Andrew's College, Bandra, on Saturday. Lace ornaments, fish pickles, spice mixes and handmade merchandise pulled weekend shoppers to the 35-odd stalls, mostly run by women. A decade-old project by the Mobai Gaothan Panchayat (MGP), an association of the East Indian community, the markets are meant to support small and local businesses run by the indigenous people who live in the Gaothans or villages in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

One of the stalls was managed by Charmaine and Bosco D'Souza from Agashe village near Virar. The couple stocked products from their farm in Vajreshwari, including pickles made from tendli or ivy gourd and the East Indian wedding pickle made with papayas. For those interested in the predominantly fish-and-meat cuisine of the community, there were pickles made from dry shrimp and Bombay duck (bombil). There were also packets of bottle masala and indyal, or the East Indian version of the vindaloo spice mix.

East Indian Bazaar

East Indian Bazaar |

“The most beautiful part of the festival is the emphasis on tradition,” said D'Souza who added that most recipes that he uses were handed down from his grandmother. He recently branded his products under the name 'Juja's' after advice from a young relative.

Marion Fernandes's stall displayed the rare handicraft of tatting, an art that is often compared to crochet. Fernandes, who retired from a job at the city airport, became an entrepreneur recently. Her products included ornaments with lace and hypoallergenic surgical steel that is not harmful to the skin. “It gives us an excellent opportunity to showcase our homemade articles created with love. Moreover, the stall rates are so reasonable compared to other exhibitions. This shows their true spirit of their mission for 'women empowerment'. A big thanks to the MGP,” said Fernandes, an Andheri resident who added that the emphasis on East Indian cuisine at the fair was one of the reasons why it attracted small businesses run by women.

East Indian Bazaar

East Indian Bazaar |

Food was indeed in the spotlight at the fair, with the release of two books on East Indian cooking, 'Christmas with the Rebellos' and 'East Indian Celebration'.

The markets started in 2009-2010, but have picked up traction recently. Alphi D'Souza, the chief executive officer of MGP, said that the markets have achieved its aim of helping small entrepreneurs among women. “The women who take part (in the bazaar) are happy not only because it gives them power and money. The fairs are also a social occasion,” said D'Souza.

The events have been mostly held at Bandra but there are plans to take it to Andheri and Orlem, Malad.

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