Birds for sale: Mahboob Chowk is Hyderabad’s ‘Chidiya Bazaar’ – The Siasat Daily

Hyderabad: The Mahboob Chowk market near the Charminar is a beehive of activity on Sundays. People from across the city come and purchase birds- a majority to release the creatures from cages considering it a good deed and wards off evil.
Syed Shukoor*, in his late 50’s sits in one of the 50 shops located in the market. He deals with different species of birds including the common sparrow also known as the ‘house sparrow’. Traditional beliefs play a significant role in promoting the trade of birds.
The common sparrows might have disappeared from houses slowly due to rapid urbanization. But one can still find them in the Mahboob Chowk bird market along with other bird species. “Those releasing captive birds believe their actions can purify their soul and relieve themselves from personal sins. We get the birds from the city outskirts or villages in the State. A pair is sold for 300. People buy it to release, it is not bought for breeding,” said Shukoor
On any day one can find almost all the traders keeping house sparrows in their shops and selling them to customers. “People come with their children, wives, and parents and buy it. Usually, buyers free them here and a few take them to some park or where there are many plants and release it We sell about ten pairs of sparrows every day,” said Ahmed Miya, a bird trader.
Other than house sparrows, people buy crows and release them. A crow is priced at Rs. 300 each and prices peak on Tuesdays due to superstitious beliefs. Many trust the fact that the action helps in recovering from ill health and wards off bad omens.
“The birds are caught in city surroundings and outskirts with the help of nets by the bird catchers and brought to market. Every day about five people come to buy and release them,” says a bird seller.
One can find mynas, pigeons, exotic birds, ducks, geese and partridges in the market. However, not everyone purchases these birds to release them. Many keep them as pets in their houses.
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