Karachi, Aug 8 : The recent sharp rise in inflation, affecting the prices of essential commodities, including food items, in Pakistan, has also affected the sale of Rakhis even as the festival of Rakha Bandhan is almost a week away.
Compared to last year, the prices of Rakhi this year have gone up by 30-50 percent, said Mohan, a Rakhi-seller in Karachi.
The Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan falls on August 16.
"The recent increase in the prices of fuel, food and other daily use items has caused an increase in the prices of colourful silk, cotton threads, hooks, beads, string for the beads, sequins and packing material, hence the price for Rakhi has increased by 30 to 50 percent this year, as compared to last year," the Daily Times quoted Mohan as saying.
He said that a simple Rakhi on a colourful thread is sold for Rs 20 while some fancy Rakhi cost up to Rs 200, so it is up to the customer to decide what type of Rakhi she wants for her brother.
Dozens of shopkeepers have set up temporary wooden stalls and cabins in almost all temples of the city, including the temples in Clifton, Soldier Bazaar, Sabzi Mandi, Cantt Station, Landhi and Korangi, to sell Rakhi, Bindia and Mangalsutar, along with photos and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses. The shopkeepers decorate their stalls with colourful Rakhi and other items to attract customers.
Most of the shopkeepers import Rakhi from India as there are no manufacturing units anywhere in Pakistan. A shopkeeper outside the Native Jetty Temple said that Gujarat, Punjab, Mumbai and the southern states of India are the major manufacturers of religious items.
"Mostly Pakistani businessmen from Punjab import these items and then sell it to businessmen and shopkeepers from Sindh," said Chandan, who went on to say, "Hindu girls usually start their shopping a week before the festival, but this year the shopping has not started yet. We still expect more shopping this year despite the price hike, as we have new designs. The girls will love these new designs and we think that this year the sale of Rakhi will double from what it was last year."