New Delhi: With the banner proudly proclaiming ‘Patake Rohtak wale’, a shopkeeper here seeks to emphasise that crackers at his shop are ‘desi’ and not Chinese, but for the army of skeptic ‘patriots’ rummaging through the products, it is but an “eyewash”.
Business in markets across Delhi, especially the famed ones of the walled city, have taken a hit as ‘patriotic’ buyers are refusing to purchase firecrackers which they think are of Chinese origin, while sellers argue that they are not. “Why would I sell Chinese crackers? I am a patriotic person. Not a single cracker in my shop is from China. But how can I make the customers believe that? “They come, ask questions and leave the shop empty-handed.
“This is the worst Diwali for me. I am all with my Prime Minister when he says boycott Chinese product. But I want my Indian customers too to trust us,” says Amit Verma, who has a firecracker shop in Dariba Kalan in Chandni Chowk here.
Pop-pops or bang snaps, that have always been a favourite as trick noise makers among children, seem to be at the receiving end of a mass boycott this year, owing to their Chinese origin.
The pop-pops they are selling are manufactured by a Chinese company. I have been buying them for so many years, but not this time,” says a buyer.
Most shopkeepers in the area claim that their stock has not been sourced from across the border but from Sivakasi, the ‘fireworks hub’ of the country.
Even images of Chinese women on the packets act as deterrent for customers who refuse to believe that the products are Indian.
“Chinese crackers are more fancy and attractive and are about 30 per cent cheaper than their Indian counterparts,” says Akash Jain, owner of Ramesh Fireworks.