//Guj Muslim traders bounce back

Guj Muslim traders bounce back

Meghdoot Sharon, CNN-IBN,March 15, 2006

Ahmedabad: Till four years ago, the market at Mirzapur was the only auto spares and ancillaries market in Ahmedabad. But with the riots going on for months, the auto and spares businesses mushroomed in several outer areas of the city.

This hit the retail business of the market, but the wholesale business is still controlled by the dealers of Mirzapur, who continue to supply spares and other auto goods to shops across the state.

"The big shops branched out to other areas of the city. So the business has definitely come down," says Abdul Razzak Qureshi, Owner, Rajkamal Auto and Assessories.

Scores of Muslim businesses in Ahmedabad were badly hit during the Gujarat riots in 2002. But with the passage of time, the community has put together the pieces to make their businesses thrive again.

"There was an effect for a short period of time, but that is no longer the case. The wholesale business is very much growing here. Recently, 50 to 60 new wholesale shops got opened here," claims Asif Qureshi, Prorietor, Bilal Auto.

At this time four years ago, the Dhalgarwaad cloth market — Ahmedabad’s largest retail cloth market — was nearly empty. Today, this market, dominated by the Muslim community, is teeming with people.

Cloth dealers here say while riots saw several small retail cloth markets coming up in other areas, this one has sustained its income and customers because clothes are available here at cheapest possible rates even while maintaining quality.

"It is the grace of God that this market has now recovered. People’s memory is indeed short. Do not ask about turnover, but there are about 430 shops here. There is really no adverse impact on the Dhalgarwaad market as a result of other markets coming up post 2002," Babubhai Sabuwala, President of Dhalgarwaad Kaapad Mahajan, said.

Four years after the riots, Muslim-controlled businesses are alive and kicking. And this stands testimony to the fact that people want to get on with life.