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Tuesday, 23 October, 2001, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Terror t-shirts line Delhi bazaars
Shopkeeper on Janpath
Doing sound business in the Indian capital
Sanjoy Majumder

The market traders of Delhi are known for their entrepreneurial skills - their ability to sell everything from a safety pin to a fully functional computer is legendary.

But now they stand accused of having plain bad taste.

T-shirts depicting the World Trade Center bombing on 11 September have appeared on market stalls across the Indian capital, and are selling like hot cakes.

Delhi's kerbside traders in markets such as Janpath in fashionable Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, Sarojini Nagar and Lajpat Nagar say they are doing brisk business.

They say the disaster of 11 September is fast becoming a fashion statement in the Indian capital.

If people start wearing t-shirts depicting terrorist attacks in Kashmir - we'll sell that too

Clothes merchant Raj
In busy Janpath, stall owners hollered to attract teenagers, office goers and even the odd, bemused western tourist.

"These t-shirts are selling very well," declared Raj Bahadur, as he held up a t-shirt for inspection.

But he rejected any suggestion that the t-shirts were in any way offensive and could anger Americans.

"Many Indians are buying my t-shirts and wearing them as well. Why should it be considered offensive?"

Conflicting views

Others said the t-shirts, which first appeared a few weeks after the attacks, did not do well initially but sales had picked up since.

The t-shirts appeared soon after the attacks
But some argued that the t-shirts were in poor taste.

"I would never approve of using a crumbling edifice as a design," said a fashion designer, Jatin Kochchar.

Others said it was a way for young Indians to protest against terrorism and the attacks.

For merchants such as Raj, however, the t-shirts just made sound business sense.

"If something sells, then we will make sure we stock it. That's the only criterion.

"If people start wearing t-shirts depicting terrorist attacks in Kashmir - we'll sell that too."

See also:

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