Tens of thousands of small shopkeepers went on strike across India on Thursday to protest a government decision to allow foreign retail giants like Wal-Mart Stores Inc to enter the country's $450 billion retail market.
Global supermarket groups see a huge opportunity in India, Asia's third-largest economy with a fast growing consumer class. For millions of shopkeepers, though, the prospect of competing with Walmart and other multinational retail brands is daunting.
"I only earn about 2,000 rupees ($39) a week and I have 7 children to take care of," said 42-year-old Rakesh Kumar, who owns a small curtain store in a narrow alley in Karol Bagh market in central Delhi.
"If these foreigners waltz in here and take away whatever I earn, how will I get my little girls married in the future?"