Indian market in the Caucasus
Interview by Timur Utsayev, Grozny. Exclusively to Vestnik Kavkaza
Exhibitions and fairs “Indian Market” were held in various cities of Russia. The final destination of the Indian exoticism was the republics of the North Caucasus. The Caucasians bought jewellery, fragrances, scarves, furniture, famous Indian textiles made of natural cotton and silk, decorated hands with henna. The initiator of the fair, native of India Akhmad Ratkher, told Vestnik Kavkaza about the peculiarities of the event.
- “Indian market” is taking place in the North Caucasus for the first time. Were the fairs successful?
- We are visiting the Caucasus for the first time, but we have already been in all the republics of the region. We visited Vladikavkaz, Makhachkala, Nalchik, and Grozny. We plan to visit small towns of the Caucasus. Chandi-Chouk is the biggest market in Delhi, where one can find anything. Here we have many goods from this market – Indian style bijouterie, fabrics, clothes, and jewellery, as well as tea and coffee. In 2009 our market came to Russia for the first time. We are visiting Grozny for the first time, but we want to return here in September. I was here before holding the market and realized that the exhibition should be conducted here. Your republic helps us to check suspicious people, and secure us. Almost all the traders are participants in the market from India. We also hire aides from Russia, from the cities where he have been before. We see who wants to work with us and pay a better salary. Along with business we have one more goal – to give visitors an opportunity to feel India without leaving their home. We are building cultural bonds. Today only one girl has come with us, because the frost is hard and nobody wants to go to Russia. The girl is dancing and local people find it interesting.
- Are your goods popular?
- Demand is great. In the Muslim republics scarves are very popular, in the central regions of Russia – skirts. Bijouterie is very popular. The only thing which surprises us is that customers try to lower the prices, even though they are very liberal. Sometimes customers do not appreciate where we come from and how big our expenses are.
- How was “Indian Market” born in Russia?
- Everything started in Belarus. I was studying there five years ago. The demand for Indian goods was huge there. When I graduated, I returned to India and presented my friends with my own business plan; they liked it. At first we visited Belarus and exhibited there, then in Kazakhstan, and now we are travelling across Russia. I have a company in Belarus, Kashmir Enterprises. Our embassy and the Chamber of Commerce help us.
- Do you sign treaties with local businessmen?
- We have treaties only with facilities where we hold the market. If somebody wants, he can buy the goods which we have in bulk. But we don’t agree to resell our goods. What we bring is not sold here. We do not open shops in Russian cities because we can come to the city again and if shops are available, nobody would come to us and it wouldn’t be beneficial to organize an exhibition. We bring high quality goods. In India the labour force is cheaper. Almost 30% of the population are involved in handcraft daily. They produce furniture, bijouterie, scarves, carpets. A lot of products are exported from India today, but often it is difficult to find good quality.
- Will you come to the Caucasus again?
- Yes, we plan to visit the Caucasus again, this time small towns. Derbent will be the first.