外文标题：‘Made in China’ swords invade rallies
PUNE: With gifting of swords in political rallies across Maharashtra becoming a routine feature this election season, the sword market is buzzing with unprecedented demand.
Selling like hot cakes are not the heavy Made in Punjab or Haryana versions of this weapon that symbolizes valour of Indian warrior kings, but the much cheaper Made in China ones.
The huge demand for China-made swords has eaten into the market share of locally manufactured ones. "Chinese swords have captured around 70 to 80 % of the sword market. The Chinese swords have a better shine. Also, they are more affordable," said Ashok Singh, owner of a shop that sells these weapons. Singh said that they have to keep record of their sales.
There are different types of swords available in the market, with the more popular ones being Bhavani and Jodhpuri. Most of these weapons are made in Punjab, Haryana. In Maharashtra, manufacturers are concentrated in Nanded district.
A shopkeeper said that since politicians have limited use of these swords, they prefer the cheaper Made in China products. "Leaders from all parties have purchased swords from our shop. We check the identity of the buyers, details of the rallies in which they plan to gift swords and also other details of the political event before selling the product," said a shopkeeper, adding that buying swords is not a simple task. "The buyer has to follow some religious rituals before and after buying this weapon. So purchasing swords in a large quantity at one go is tough," he said.
Swords that measure 3 feet are the most in demand. A good quality sword can cost around Rs 5,000. The Made in China versions are available at nearly half the price. Along with the body/blade of the sword, its handle too is an important feature that buyers consider before making the purchase. Designer handles are more in demand, shopkeepers said.
Metals like copper, stainless steel are preferred for making these swords. Even silver and gold metals are used for swords, depending upon the purpose and budget of buyer.
"Swords are a traditional weapon that warriors used in battles. So, offering a sword to a leader at a rally marks the beginning of a battle," a leader of a political party said.
Meanwhile, district collector Saurabh Rao said that there was no any restriction on the selling of swords that are given as gifts during rallies.