Shops without keepers: Mizoram sets an example in social distancing


As the world practices social distancing to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus, an old shopping tradition in Mizoram is attracting attention again. Shops in some regions of the state have no shopkeepers and customers can choose the items they need, while depositing the amount in a box kept for the purpose. Vegetables, flowers, and other goods could be purchased in this manner. In short, the entire transaction takes place based on trust.

This tradition is known as 'Nghah loh dawr' in Mizoram and is quite common here. A part of the Mizo culture, this commercial method is followed widely in an area that can be reached in a one-and-a-half-hour drive from Aizawl, capital of the state.

Along the 'selling highway' are lined shops selling fruits, vegetables, flowers and other goods. Even though the shops have existed for years, they are in the limelight again after social distancing became a hot topic due to the pandemic.

It is pointed out that this shopping tradition reflects the mutual trust the people of Mizoram have. It is probably the only place in India where shops without shopkeepers function. However, such shops that are based on trust exist in the rural areas of Switzerland and Germany.

Another similar tradition in Mizoram is a library, where people can read books free of cost. The library was set up to promote reading habit.

A picturesque land with scenic mountains, Mizoram follows rich traditions and is waiting for the arrival of travellers after the COVID-19 threat subsides.

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