Days before Diwali, the scene on Mohamm ed Ali Road is proof that Diwali, the festival of lights, is not just restricted to one community.
The road, which usually has shopkeepers selling everything from cutlery to perfumes and leather products, is suddenly filled with temporary stalls selling firecrackers to cater to the needs of every single person making up the crowd in the area.
Salim Qureshi, who sells toy guns at a stall on Mohammed Ali Road during Diwali, says, “We look to do some good business during the festive season. Selling firecrackers helps us make a little more money.”
The rest of the year, Qureshi can be found selling useful knick-knacks near Crawford Market. He, like some other hawkers, shifts to Mohammed Ali Road only as Diwali closes in. “We do it because this place is famous, not just among Hindus, but people from all communities. And we use the money we make on our children,” he explains.
While temporary stalls like Qureshi’s pop up only around Diwali, the one store which is a permanent fixture in the area is Essabhai Fireworks Pvt Ltd, one of the biggest shops selling firecrackers on Mohammed Ali Road. Buyers can find firecrackers here throughout the year, for any occasion, be it a wedding or a festival.
“Since Diwali is a national festival, we believe it is no longer restricted to just one community.
People belonging to all faiths come here to buy crackers,” says Abdullah Ghia, director of Essabhai Fireworks.
While Ghia’s store is always well stocked, other sellers need to start stocking up just before Diwali. “For us, preparations begin a month before Diwali. The five days of business gets us some good profits, which is not the case with other businesses during the same period,” said Rauf Shaikh, who sells crackers on the same road. On other days, he can be found selling plastic products at his shop in Masjid Bunder.
Another seller, Aslam Shaikh, adds, “We make around 10 per cent more profit from this business as compared to other businesses during Diwali.”
While temporary stalls like Qureshi’s pop up around Diwali, a permanent fixture in the area is Essabhai Fireworks Pvt Ltd, one of the biggest shops selling firecrackers on Mohammed Ali Road. Buyers can find firecrackers here throughout the year