Varanasi is a big market, catering to the markets across the India as well as abroad. The concept of Gaddi is basically about distribution the shops. A Gaddi translates to ‘seat’ in English.

Gaddis is a colloquial/local/social term that is used across many parts of North, East and even Central India, in many businesses. It’s kind of having ‘seat’ of something in your possession – say of business transaction here. So, there may be seats of quilt businesses, of jewellery, of even paan (betel), and so on.

A Gaddi is a seat of central prominence in the circle of stakeholders localised in a particular area and is held by its owner, the businessman, the Gaddidar. Basically, he is a kind of facilitator, a trader, who ensures the product flows to the market from the manufacturer.

They are like small aggregators who sell either to shops or to big aggregators. We can say Gaddidars are equivalent to the local wholesale traders. Though there are no specifics, there should be around 2000 Gaddis in a city like Varanasi.

They work as intermediaries between weavers and the middlemen transacting business for weavers and big traders, i.e., stores, showrooms, handloom houses, design boutiques, big textile conglomerates, big wholesale traders and so on.

Then there are some very big businesses/export houses, in fact aggregators, including some Muslims. And again, most of them only distribute the product, in reaching to the scattered domesitc and overseas markets.

The flow is like:

From Sardars (the community leaders of weavers) – to the aggregators/Gaddidars (Hindus as well also Muslims) – to the big aggregators/export houses/distributors (Hindus and Muslims).

It all depends on how we define aggregators.

From a weaver to the prospective buyer, these all act in some way as middlemen, eating into the real worth of a product – the huge difference – in what a weaver gets – and on the price the product is sold in the market.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –


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