BANKING TRADE AND COMMERCE
PEDLARS AND HAWKERS
The 1961 Census enumerated 4,455 pedlars and hawkers in Ahmadnagar district, of whom 1,925 were in urban areas. The hawkers mainly carry their business in cities and towns whereas the pedlars are the counterparts of hawkers in rural areas.
The pedlars in the past were mainly doing their business at the bazar places. A description of these petty traders given in the old Ahmadnagar District Gazetteer of 1884 is reproduced below:-
" Pedlars, called Halikars, belonging to the large local towns or to Malegaon and Yeola in Nasik, visit the weekly markets, bringing grain, cloth, copper and- brass vessels, groceries, spices, glass and lac bangles and blankets. They buy their goods in large market towns and carry them on ponies, bullocks and sometimes on their own backs. They are mostly Marwar and Lingayat Vanis with a few Shimpis and Brahmans. They travel with their packs to places forty or fifty miles from their homes." [Gazetteer of Bombay Presidency, Ahmadnagar District, 1884, p. 342.]
Pedlars move from village to village carrying with them their merchandise. These itinerary traders who form, even at present, a part of retailers deal in the essential commodities of daily use. Their trading activities are neither regulated nor recorded and hence the statistics about their trade are not available.
The hawkers, pedlars and other street vendors deal in a number of commodities. They sell a wide variety of consumer goods including fresh fruits, dry fruits, food-grains, parched grains, spices, vegetables, bread, biscuits, ice-creams, cloth, ready-made garments, stationery and cutlery items, toys, etc.
Some of the pedlars and hawkers belong to professional classes such as, oil-men, gardeners, darzis
and tinsmiths. They obtain their stock-in-trade from bigger towns like
Ahmadnagar, Kopargaon, Shrirampur, Rahuri and Sangamner. Generally they sell
with a narrow profit margin and earn about Rs. 5 to Rs. 10 per day.
The pedlars visit various villages on certain days of a week. They usually carry on their business in fair weather. Generally the pedlars and hawkers hail from the towns in the district.