Sometimes, the size of the celebrations does not give much idea about the scale of the fireworks that would follow. On Diwali this year, the Bombay Stock Exchange’s (BSE) ‘muhurat’—a special one-hour trading session—was a tepid affair, with police allowing only 50 people inside the nerve-centre of India’s business. During normal times, the ‘muhurat’—which means auspicious—saw hundreds of brokers and their families, dressed in their festive best, congregate at the new ring inside the rotunda and perform the Chopda Puja, worship of their books of accounts. The token trading—brokers believe that gains made during this session brings year-round prosperity and wealth—was followed by bursting of firecrackers.
But the fireworks were set off alright—the bull took off in a frenzy, kicking and stomping India’s stock markets into life after months of lethargy brought by the Covid pandemic that has blighted the global economy. Since Diwali, the BSE index, Sensex, has continued its consistent, and unprecedented, northward march. As have the rest of the exchange’s 50-odd indices, which are related to specific sectors and stocks. Despite the viral uncertainty, the stock market rise has set the hearts of the Indian investors ablaze with optimism.