“No one wants to be a hawker; no one is born a hawker”, says Basudev and yet all are caught in the machinic routine of railway life, time-tables at the tip of their tongue and every train remembered by its own sound. Unlike jobs in the corporate and government sectors, this routine assures no dignity and does little to take away from the legal and existential precarity of running hawkers.
“For three days, hawkers in different parts of Shillong stood with a placard where their name, items of sale and the years spent on their particular spot of business. They stood there waiting for the Government to send officials to conduct the survey and take their names for record. However, the administration sent SOT (Special Operation Team) squads instead, armed with automatic weapons and accompanied by the Police and Municipality to see to it that no hawker could do business on the footpaths”
Nobody likes to be a street-hawker forever. In fact, nobody wants to be a street-hawker to feed their children or even for themselves. Now, if the elites of Shillong can please tidy up their excessive garbage output to the Umshrypi and Wahumkhrah rivers, and bear with us so they can walk on the footpaths more comfortably, many dreams and lives can be shaped.
Ha ka snem 2009 ka Sorkar India ka la maitphang bad thaw ia ka policy na ka bynta ki nongdie jingdie ha madan bad rud lynti bad da ka jingbthah bad hukum jong ka Supreme Court ka Sorkar India ka la thaw ia ka Ain na ka bynta ki nongdie jingdie ha madan, kata THE STREET VENDORS (PROTECTION OF LIVELIHOOD AND REGULATION OF STREET VENDING) ACT, 2014 .
The street vendors/hawkers are not the problem, they are in fact the solution in many ways than one can possibly imagine.
If you have been following the mainstream Shillong media or reading/hearing the influential opinion-makers of the town, you would be right to think that the Hawking and Vending is an illegal activity which needs to be stamped out. But that is not the case. Illegality is a myth.
he street vendors/hawkers are not the problem, they are in fact the solution in many ways than one can possibly imagine. But right now they are being used as a punching bag by those who have a stake in keeping the real issue hidden and the state economically backward. There are close links between the right of street vendors/hawkers and that of the general public on the city’s spaces while imagining a more humane city and a just development for all. Is it then wrong to stand for the right of the street vendors/hawkers?
This is something I wished I never had to write about. But somehow I am compelled after reading the editorial in The Shillong Times regarding the nuisance created by street-hawkers in Shillong. My mother used to be one of them. That was many years ago, while I was in high school. And it made me wonder if my mother was a nuisance to the beautiful and sanitized Shillong, people love to portray. How does Shillong look like from below, from the margins, from the fringes of society? Marginal on the basis of community, class and even neighbourhood.
Before she made her millions of paisas, my mother was a hawker. Determined to make a better life for me, she took a huge leap of faith and moved from Aizawl to Shillong.