Keep the skills of Tibetans alive in the city
It may be time for authorities to consider a small, makeshift market for the Tibetan sweater sellers like they have in Ahmedabad, for instance
The Tibetan Sweater Sellers Association, along with other Tibetans celebrated the 30th anniversary of the conferment of the Nobel Peace Prize on the Dalai Lama and Human Rights Day at a Mumbai venue recently. This paper featured a report on the Tibetan celebrations, but more importantly, highlighted aspects of the sweater sellers and their challenges.
Tibetans have been coming to Mumbai annually, from different Tibetan settlements in India, to sell their woollens. Many of them have been coming in for nearly 50 years now. They are usually in the city from November onwards. They sit on the pavements selling winter wear to Mumbaikars.
It may be time for authorities to consider a small, makeshift market for the Tibetan sweater sellers like they have in Ahmedabad, for instance. Tibetan sweater sellers too, must start looking for newer avenues for making money, as a speaker said at the event.
If sweaters are not selling as much as before, could they approach small industries and look at home decor items? There can be a small Tibetan market selling traditional Tibetan ware, which could do well in the metropolis. Authorities of both sides, as well as Tibetan representatives can come together to work out an economically viable long-term solution.
While the political aspect is quite different, it is important for Mumbai too, that we do not lose the colourful thread in the tapestry of this city, which is the Tibetans. They bring with them a whiff of their culture and locals certainly have something to learn from them. Communities and their skills must be kept alive in a thriving metropolis, whose heartbeat is commerce.
It would be good if there is some way in which this could be taken forward, a community increase its livelihood, a city retain the charm and an important part of its diverse demography, even if the Tibetans are only temporary visitors to Mumbai.
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