Who Hates The Street Vendors & Hawkers of Shillong & Why?

Since the time Hawkers and Street Vendors of Shillong finally decided to organise themselves under one umbrella called Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers and Street Vendors Association, there has been hate spewed against them.

General Body Meeting
Meghalaya & Greater Shillong Progressive Hawkers & Street Vendors Association, 2018, Shillong

This Hate can be divided into Two Category.

  1. By the Everyday Racist Joe

2. By the Rich and Pretentious Elites

Now, those who spewed hate against the Hawkers and street vendors because of Racism, do so because they fear. Fear that the outsider may overtake them at everything. Fear that they will be over-run by these outsiders and that they will be enslaved by them. For Racist everywhere this is true to the bone. Of course a Racist here will face Racism elsewhere also. Why? because Racism does not Unite. It divides. It divides people based on Fear.

However these Racist, would be usually the everyday Joe, who in Life struggles to make ends meet, struggles to Get along with others and searches for company and Love and by choosing to be part of this makes them feel wanted and gives meaning to their existence.

Also, to be noted is that these everyday racist Joe, may not be all Racist all the Time. They in fact, are like Hyenas who laughs if the group laughs, hunt if the group hunts and retreat the moment their survival is threatened. They do it because everyone they know does it too. It is sad actually, because generations and generations of inbreeding in thought to conform to what the majority is trained to believe and follow has taken away that part of their freedom to be able to choose for themselves and make informed decisions based on what they want and not what everyone wants you to want.

My Mother was a Hawker

They not only are bred that way but are also being used by the second category of the elite racist. Who uses these regular Joe’s to be their first line of defence and do their nasty deed so that they themselves do not have to dirty their own hands in the puddle of mud with the commoners.

In fact, when you catch them off guard, these regular racist joe’s joyfully shop from these hawkers the latest trends and ultimate fashion at the most affordable prices. And they smile and sing happy tunes because after purchasing so much they can still have extra left for standing mess of multicultural cuisine.

I feel sorry for Joe. I really do.

But the worst is the second category of haters – the pretentious elites in their poshed up homes and their tea parties.

They think that the world belongs to them. that people should part ways like the Red Sea for their glorious feet to touch the ground.

Their main complaint will always be that they cannot walk anywhere freely and that the “beauty” is gone.

They think that everybody should buy clothes and other merchandise only from posh shops with a price tag fit for a king. Well, not every regular joe can afford big shops with big numbers your royal highness.

Many daily wage earners, and contractual workers still need these Hawkers and street vendors to provide for their families with cheap affordable clothes and other necessities.

Christmas especially is a time when from far flung villages, people come in numbers to shop in Shillong. But many of them don’t mind the hustle and bustle of the streets as jam packed as they are because to them it means that the entire family will get shoes this christmas. will get pretty, flashy pink dresses and Tip top shirt and trousers for all their sons.

Sorry, if we can’t all afford branded clothes and expensive shoes.

Then, they talk of beauty. What do they actually mean is that without Poor people, we the Rich can walk peacefully, and uninterrupted whilst holding our cuppa tea.

They probably would love it if they were back to the British era having tea and biscuits and jeer at the poor dirty indian (of course forgetting that they would also be enslaved).

And when they talk of beauty, they honestly don’t mean beauty as in Nature is beauty. They want wide roads, and shopping malls and well lit caves and cafes not ‘jadoh’ stalls.

So, to them a bunch of dirty hawkers who dare challenge their notion of civilization is not acceptable. It’s opposite of their understanding of development and growth. And so they cannot stand it and will try with all their wits and might to play their influence and try to belittle the little people and play dangerous games with this easily swayed public opinion in Shillong.

But do they, or will Anyone care that these Hawkers themselves have asked for the implementation of The Central Act on Hawking which will regulate hawking spaces in Meghalaya and ensure that there is ample space for everyone to live and survive.

Citizen’s guide to the laws about Hawkers & Vendors

They are demanding the Law so that it will check and sort out all hawking spaces but no one wants to implement that because in reality, No one really cares about them and just wants them gone because hawkers are not upto their obnoxious standards or upto their narrow and impractical vision of the Shillong they want to portray to the world.



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Roney Lyndem Written by:

Roney Lyndem works as counsellor and is a Union activist with Thma U Rangli Juki (TUR)

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