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J.S. Anjaria on Hawkers in Mumbai

“‘When I was growing up, there used to be a coconut man,’ fondly recalled Maya, a civic activist in Mumbai. ‘He carried a basket of coconuts on his head and walked around. If you wanted one, he would stop and cut it open for you.’ Telling me this, Maya smiles and laughs, warmed by the nostalgia for an earlier era of the city. However, ‘In the 1980s [things changed],’ Maya continued, ‘migrants started coming specifically to hawk on the footpaths. They are not the traditional hawkers. They have come to set up a business; to occupy a place on the footpath and call it their own.’”

J.S. Anjaria, from “Guardians of the Bourgeois City: Citizenship, Public Space, and Middle-Class Activism in Mumbai,” in City & Community, 2009

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Credits: Image of Coconut Vendor from Shokichka.