Corporates See the Opportunity in Muslim’s Purchase Power

Abdul Hafiz Lakhani for BeyondHeadlines

Gujarat, Ahmedabad and the largest Muslim ghetto of Asia, Juhapura are always remembered for the wrong reasons; thanks to our biased and so called secular mainstream media in connection with infamous riots of 2002. Actually in the past, this largest Muslim concentration has many positive stories that failed to find place in the public consciousness, till the time the corporate world focused its eyes on Juhapura- a ghetto with five lakh Muslims living in the area.

A recent report about two malls being planned near Juhapura junction is an invitation to reflection. Let us break stereotypes and understand that major surveys show that as a community, Muslims spend the most on shopping and entertainment.

Sociologists also realize that Muslims in Gujarat are still a ghettoised community, especially after the 2002 riots. The question now is whether we are confronting a new experiment where desire and consumption negate the reality of ghettoisation? Will the location of the two malls redefine Juhapura from a solely ethnic space to a new definition in urban conviviality?

Today, shopping is a major sport and our malls have become places for informal meetings and family outings. Malls have also become museums of desire where people visit them not to buy but to touch and look. The Juhapura experiment will be watched with great expectation.

Now, Ahmedabad’s horizon is set to expand to keep up with the changing lifestyle of its people. And developers and retailers are making a beeline to areas that till now were largely neglected. Two malls are being planned near the Juhapura junction. The mall will benefit not just Juhapura Muslims but also some other Hindu areas surrounding it. A survey by a prominent business group had found that comparatively, the Muslims community spends the most on shopping and entertainment.

Managing director of one of the malls said, “The areas near Juhapura do not have any modern facilities and no mall can be found in a 3-km radius. The project therefore fills the gap.” “However, we are still in talks with the company for starting the project”, he added. The mall will have four floors excluding the ground floor. The project will also include a banquet hall and a three star residential hotel.

The projected cost for the mall is Rs 65 crores excluding the cost of land. Construction is scheduled to take about 18 months.


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