Street Hawkers and Community Space in Mumbai
Author(s): Jonathan Shapiro Anjaria
Resource: Economic and Political Each week, Vol. 41, No . 21 (May 27 - Jun. 2, 2006), pp. 2140-2146 Published simply by: Economic and Political Regular
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Street hawking is mostly considered as a " menace" or an " eyesore" that stops the development of Mumbai as a world class city. Nevertheless this article is exploring the essential existence of hawkers in a metropolis, which takes a critical understanding of the operating of open public space. Any potential problems of hawkers in Mumbai, as elsewhere in India, have taught them to not fear a regulatory state, but a predatory 1, a state that constantly demands bribes and threatens demolition, against which in turn a driving licence provides reliability. JONATHANSHAPIROANJARIA
this individual hawker question is central to the debates over open public
space in Mumbai. Since the late 1990s, elite NGOs and
residents' associations have been actively endorsing, with
a lot of success, the idea that hawkers are to be blamed for several of the city's problems. To them, hawkers are " a symbol of a
metropolitan space gone out of control" [Rajagopal 2001: 94]; a " menace" who inappropriatelyuse roads and walkways, block visitors, depress property values and are, more generally, eyesores that prevent Mumbai from as being a " world-class" city. This despite the fact that street hawking has received a long historical presence in Mumbai, delivers essential services to most with the population and provides direct career for over three lakh persons, in addition to indirectly making use of hundredsof hundreds more [Bhowmik 2003]. Their necessary and at the same time
contentious presence for the streets needs a critical involvement with the function of community space and the role of street hawkers in future ideas for the town.
In order to be familiar with functioning of public space in
Mumbai, it is necessary to understandwhat hawkers really do in that space, and how they conceptualise their own relationship to it. This is important because a lot of parties mixed up in debates above hawkers operate with a limited understanding of their particular work, their daily connections with the state and the visions hawkers themselves have of your vibrant, democratic and wellfunctioning city. In an attempt to address this problem, this paper provides an consideration of the situation of hawkers in Mumbai,
drawing from field research conducted coming from June 2004 to Sept 2004 and from Summer 2005 to March 2006 with unlicensed street hawkers in Mumbai. It is also based upon the selection interviews and relaxed conversations executed with the active supporters and workers working with Mumbai's elite NGOs (often termed as " citizens' groups" ) and residents' associations, and also the statements of thematpublicmeetings. Demonstratingthe complexity of hawkers' daily lives and their interactions together with the state will certainly hopefully elicit new ways of thinking about the place of hawkers in Mumbai's
Hawkers and the Law
No new hawking licences had been issued in Mumbai since
1978, even though, along with the bigger population, the quantity...
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May twenty-seven, 2006