With the holy month of Ramadan beginning June 30, the Walled City has been flooded with products made in China. Though some articles from Syria, Malaysia and Indonesia are also seen, the Dragon is undoubtedly the king.
One of the main products is the “Pen Quran”. The holy book has not just been consoled in the pen, but the pen also allows for translation of Quranic verses with the help of an inbuilt audio translator in five languages — English, Urdu, Malayalam, French and Italian. The Quran contains icons of these languages on the margins, apart from icons on shariah, hadith, etc.
The user has to touch the language icon with the tip of the pen and then the verse he/she wants translated. The pen first reads the verse(s) in Arabic and then translates the same in the preferred language.
Most stalls and Islamic book depots in the Walled City have copies of the “Pen Quran” ‘which are now selling like hot cakes’, confirmed Nazimullah of Madia Book Depot, opposite the Jama Masjid.
However, buyer Mohammad Farooque added: “These Qurans were available in the market from Saudi Arab last year, but China copied them fast and has now flooded the Delhi market. However, there is a major difference in quality between the two.” The Chinese Quran is sold for Rs.2,000.
Another notable product is the travel prayer mat or janamaz, complete with a small colourful plastic purse fixed with a compass on the outer flap. Once the user unfastens the strap, the low-quality plastic prayer mat opens and the compass point towards the ‘west’ — the side one bows during namaz.
Even colourful skullcaps with geometric designs, which are the exact copies of finely woven Malaysian caps, can be seen all around. And they are selling for just Rs.10, while the finely woven Indian/Malaysian skullcaps cost Rs.35.
Another popular item is the Chinese hanger — a plastic wall hanging polished in bright gold with Quranic verses.
“The newest item this year are these plastic poster sheets from China,” said a young Mohammad Talib of Farid Book Depot, claiming to be the country’s biggest Islamic book depot, while pointing towards glossy wall posters with words like mashallah, assalamo-alaikum, etc., printed decoratively in Arabic.
Though most shops are selling these products, the senior lot whose shops are no less than five decades old are unhappy with the invasion of Chinese products.
“They are spoiling our market. They shouldn't be here,” asserted Nazimullah.
Laqeem Ahmad of shop number 962 at Matia Mahal, which sells prayer mats and skull caps, however, said the sales had been hit. “During Ramazan, people often buy in bulk. So we make up for the loss,” Laqeem added.