Monday, December 18, 2006

Bazaars - the beginning

How do Bazaars in India grow? A walk through a bazaar in any village, town or city in India would establish the fact that here, art is a way of life. It is not easy to fathom what this way of life is. It is difficult to define it. It is a complex but very thoughtfully developed way that fascinates and enthralls as you understand it better.

“Everything flows. We cannot step twice into the same river. When I step into the river for the second time, neither I nor the river are the same”
- Jostein Gaardner

In the market or `bazaar´, there is art and culture evident in the mannerisms of the vendors and the buyers, in the costumes, in the baskets that hold the goods, in the wares that are sold, whether it is flowers or camphor, whether it is rope or white cloth - a sign of the myriad ceremonies that Indian households conduct.

Is it possible for us to study this aesthetic and to recreate it once again for the cities of India. In the urban areas markets are built by the Municipal Corporations with better infrastructure but they sometimes lack local flavour and the vigour of the lives of the Indian people. There is much funding being directed to build markets all over the country. We, in India, have also begun to replicate western concepts of shopping by introducing large store chains. Can a vegetable market in India really go online?

How do urban dwellers perceive bazaars? Are they still places that excite us? Or are we relegating bazaars to be those dirty, unhygienic backyards of our increasingly “modern” cities? Do we look upon them as evils that must be put up with for just a few years more, to be replaced soon with neat supermarkets and multi-level parking places? As our cities and lifestyles “progress” , we lose more and more our indian identity. It is time perhaps to think hard therefore if this is really what we want to see happening. The Indian mind can handle so much complexity that it is not difficult to absorb within our system new ways of thinking that may add efficiency and progress to our lives, while still witholding the customs and cultural traditions that have made us. Let us not believe that we must shed one lifestyle for another.


The Yossarian said...

I'd love to read what you have to say about K R Market (City Market), Bangalore.

kiran said...

For now, have not much to say. I think i'd need to walk around the area much more, before i do.