Come every Saturday and city’s bustling area near Gandhi Sagar lake, better known as Shukrawari talao, facing the upscale Empress mall is surrounded by the peculiar buzz that sounds quite unwanted to the mall authorities. This could be the rare scene where the ultra-modern shopping avenue is advertently clubbed with the rustic sale outlets that offer all the goods, scrap and dusty, yet useful for many in the city. Welcome to the Shanichara Bazar – the traditional weekly market having its root deep down the times, even before Empress Mall came into being. All the efforts to displace the market went in vain. Like it or not, Shanichara Bazar, or Chor Bazar is there to stay.
This market is with everything and with vendors everywhere. This place is called Chor Bazaar aka Shaniwari Market which is set-up every Saturday near Santra Market in the Second Capital City of Nagpur. Here, one can get a range of stuff from tools of all shapes and needs, spare parts, households, electronics, antiques, and above all this market, as name suggests, is place for exchanging stolen stuff with both seller and buyer equally interested. The price tag is only an excuse to argue. Bargaining is the accepted and expected method of finding a compromise between the wishful thinking of the vendors and the customers. At the end, both are happy. That is why the Chor Bazaar aka Shaniwari Market is different.
A visit to the Shaniwari Market will enlighten you as to the gamut of goods available there and best of bargaining going on.
In the wrought iron, pig iron or steel category, one can find hand held tools for gardening, farming, vehicle tools, household tools, etc. You name it and you’ll find it fitting the size of your pocket.
One can get the spare parts of almost every brand or company in India. Be it fuel tanks, shock-ups, wheel-base, side-guards, covers, accessories etc. One can find everything that can keep you and your vehicle running once again, (and on the run also if….), without having to spend a lot of money for the new spare parts. But alertness could be discretion.
Tyres of almost every vehicle running in the city could be found on sale. While some are retreaded, some are new (from stolen vehicles). Choice is yours.
For buffs interested in doors, windows, and other construction material of every shape, paintings, vessels, wooded goods, cloth-material, cheap readymade cloth, etc, the Shaniwari Market is best bet.
Then there are plenty of electronic goods too, like tape-recorders, computer mouse, key-boards, speakers, CD players and what not. You count and get it.
There are a few vendors who deal in antique goods, too. They are coins, stones, idols, copper, brass goods, old-musical instruments, hukkas, curios and decoration items of yesteryears. But think twice before venturing to buy these items. On a day, it is safe but nothing can be said about this market.
How does one get a good bargain here?
The secret is your bargaining prowess. Prices can vary drastically among vendors at this market, and even at the same stall. Determine what the item is worth to you. Price tags can be meaningless and serve to distort your idea of an item’s true worth. Obey the rules. Don’t hurry. Bargaining is rarely rushed. Make sure you are dealing with someone who has the authority to bend a price downward. Bid carefully. If a vendor accepts your price (or vice versa), you must buy the item. If you can start by quoting quarter of the price the vendor quotes, you may end up in buying the goods with 35 or 40 % of the price lesser than the actual price quoted by the vendor. This again is nearly 20% cost of the original spare part. Even other house-hold goods which are sold in hardware stores for a big price can be found here at very cheap rate. Of course the goods may not be painted with fine finish. But these goods too can perform the same role as the new counterparts sold in hardware stores.
Open sale of stolen goods
So how do these vendors sell these goods openly and in a brazen manner? Well they have been doing this for as many as 100 years, said one of the vendors of old iron goods 67 year-old Mustaq Gibrail Ahmed while talking to Nagpur Today. He said that before him, his father used to sell goods here. When asked how come the cops don’t catch these vendors who are selling stolen goods, he said that the thieves sell the goods to some other purchasers of stolen goods, which in turn gets sold to the vendors and they market goods here. They do not have any contact with any person who steals the goods.
Now, one question about the Chor Bazaar or Shaniwari Market has been pricking the minds of people is: Will the NMC authorities remove the age old market with coming up of Empress City Mall and many fancy residential buildings around it?
While speaking to Nagpur Today, another vendor Suresh Waghmare said that the NMC authorities have been trying to dislodge us for a long time, but then where will we go? We have been selling the goods here for the three generations. Any alternate place will not get us the same kind of clientele.
He is right in a different sense! The Chor Bazaar or Shaniwari Market has an aura of its own and the customers are also of special class!!
– By Samuel Gunashekharan