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The Indian state of Mizoram in the North East has shops without shopkeepers
The North East region of India remains a mystery for most, as very few of us have had the opportunity to explore the region. A lush green area studded with thick forested hills extending for miles is what comes to mind when you talk about the Indian state of Mizoram.

The tranquil state blessed with natural beauty is also home to one of the most honest and humble communities of India, the Mizos. They even have a Mizo term for it – tlawmngaihna, which means always being kind, hospitable, unselfish and helpful to others.

The Mizos have indigenously developed an innovative kind of grass-root level system of commerce where they have shops without shopkeepers. This novel system of commerce, based on honesty and goodwill is called – the nghah lou dawr.

While you find cash locked inside cash registers and safe vaults in shops in the rest of India, in nghah lou dawrs (shops without shopkeepers) there is no one to guard the cash.


Around 65 km from the state capital of Aizawl, it is a common sight to see such shops along the highway in Seling. At these shops fruits, vegetables, flowers and other items etc are kept for sale with a price list and a small container to keep the cash in for the customers after making their purchase. The only thing missing is such shops is the shopkeeper.

Thatched huts double up as shops displaying an array of vegetables, fruits, fish, occasional bottle of fruit juice and even fresh water snails, a local delicacy. The plastic container meant for depositing cash has words written "Pawisa Bawm" or "Pawisa Dahna". The shoppers are also free to retrieve change from the container if they are short of it.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention and this unique commercial system is no exception. With farmlands being few and expensive in the region, it is difficult for small time farmers to spare even one family member to sit at the shop. And guess what? Nobody's complaining! The shopkeepers trust their customers and swear by them. They say that they have never failed them and nothing has ever gone missing from their shops. 

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