Market place where besides goods, ‘love and care is sold for free’ 

It is not a posh market where the rich and the high spending clients will be going for purchases, but a small place where a motley crowd is seen busy making purchases needed for the daily use of a common man.

The market right outside the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura is a place where small time vendors sell a variety of items. It is the market which starts form the main entrance of SKIMS and ends near the Gynaecology department of SKIMS, also known as ‘Zanane’ Hospital. The market is a symbol of care.

From a packet of cigarette, one can find almost everything available here. Like footwear, fruits, clothes, road side eateries selling Biryani…..the list can go on and on. One can name it and they have the item there, readily available.

There is something strange and extra-ordinary about this market that may not be happening in any of the market places in and around Srinagar city.

The vendors do not sell the same product throughout the week. There is a shift in a day or two that is mandatory to follow, when people have to take onto selling something different for the next couple of days.

Muhammad Aslam (41) sells footwear for two days and after two days he has to operate on a small outlet, selling cigarettes. “This has been decided by the small union that we have here, and we work according to that plan,” says Aslam.

It is a novel way of providing every person with a chance of earning a modest living. Interestingly, the majority of the vendors are the inhabitants of nearby locality known as Anchar, famous after lake, Anchar.  Given the fact that they live nearby, they have occupied the space and have started their own, shift based ventures.

Abdul Qayoom (52) is on office bearer of the union that overlooks the operation of the market. He says that the idea behind this ‘exchange of ventures’ is that “we want to let everyone earn their livelihood in a respected manner.”

Fayaz Ahmad (35) is a vendor busy with selling boiled eggs near the empty space just outside institute’s main entrance. He sells boiled eggs for the first two days of the week and then he has to shift and sell cigarettes, or any other commodity that is in demand. For the days when he sells a different commodity, the other person, Ghulam Muhammad takes up the job of selling boiled eggs to the attendants of patients, who come from far flung areas for treatments at SKIMS.

At the times where there is a huge competition in the market and persons-in-business hardly care about their fellows in business, the Soura market serves as an inspiration for aspiring young business persons to start a venture of such a nature.

With a novelty of making sure that everybody is earning good money, the market is said to be the main reason for creating frequent obstructions for the smooth passage of traffic on the road.

The vendors of the market and the local residents are demanding that the market should be shifted to some other place where they can continue with their business and also a measure will be taken to ensure the smooth passage of traffic in the area.

“Government should take some steps to relocate this market” said Bilal Ahmad who frequently takes this route to reach his office at Lal Chowk. “In the evening the movement is very difficult.” he added.

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