New Delhi: In a bid to boycott all Chinese goods, the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) is distributing a variety of Indian-themed rakhis, including those embossed with a photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, under its Hindustani Rakhi campaign.
The ‘Modi rakhi’ range comes in aluminium, silver and copper sheets while the others are made from seeds, grains, rice, wheat, wool, silk, Madhubani paintings and tribal items.
In a statement, the traders’ body said the rakhis were made by women in Anganwadi centres as well as by men and women who had lost their job in the coronavirus pandemic. The rakhis are being distributed and sold through trade organisations spread across the country.
Rakhi, which falls on 3 August this year, is a Hindu festival marked by sisters tying a rakhi, a talisman, on the wrists of their brothers. The rakhi designs have over the years evolved from simple decorated strands of string to bracelets made of precious metals.
Sales of rakhis typically start a fortnight ahead, and shopkeepers this year have reported a substantial fall in demand for Chinese-made rakhis.
A customer in Shimla, Aanchal, reportedly said, “We always used to get Chinese rakhis. This year I am buying India-made rakhi. Why should we boost the economy of a country that is a threat to us? I would not tie a rakhi to my brothers which are made in China, the country that attacks our soldier brothers.”
Mahesh Kumar, a Delhi shopkeeper, said, “Customers are refusing to buy Chinese rakhis. Their first question is whether the rakhi is Chinese or not. Local handmade rakhis are selling. This would also affect the Chinese market, and benefit the locals. The money used to go abroad earlier, now it stays within the country,” according to a New Indian Express report.
CAIT national president B.C. Bhartia and secretary general Praveen Khandelwal said their idea behind the Modi rakhis was to show the PM promoting Aatmanirbhar Bharat (a self-reliant India) and encourage the use of Indian goods. In its statement, CAIT said the Modi rakhis will inspire people to boycott Chinese goods.
Following the face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers at the Line of Actual Control in June, CAIT has been promoting a boycott China goods.
People had also promoted the idea, with videos surfacing of people throwing and smashing their Chinese-made televisions. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has also supported the boycott.
The CAIT boycotted over 450 categories of products made in China, ranging from cosmetics, bags, toys, furniture to footwear and watches. Using the rationale of the “continued border skirmishes”, the traders’ body called for a boycott of 3,000 Chinese products.