30 December 2011

The RikshaWallah

Portrait of RikshaWallah
© Mayank Pandey -  Some Rights Reserved

That cart is not drawn by an animal. Those of you who have not visited the city of Kolkata nor have had the chance to read or hear - this is a Riksha Wallah. He pulls that cart with his hands while another human being sits behind. This still continues to be a mode of transport in parts of Kolkata, probably one of the only cities in the world that still holds onto this scar. 

Some would argue that this is atleast better than begging on the streets and what were to happen to him, his family and others like him if the state was to ban, hand pulled rikshaw. And when we have time to get over with the intellectual debates that we educated Indians are most proficient at, we could spare a few moments of thoughts on this. 

This was shot on a bright sunny day in streets of Kolkata, in Novemeber 2011. While I sat in an airconditioned cab, this gaunty aged man (or perhaps he just looks older) waited for customers. Another shot below, a close cropped frame, a more artistic take which tells the same story yet in a different way.
Story in Shadows
© Mayank Pandey -  Some Rights Reserved

So what is right, allow these men a choice to continue this or put an end to this 'inhumane' profession. 

20 comments:

magiceye said...

beautifully captured...
had read that these rickshaw pullers would be offered cycle rickshaws in lieu of hand pulled ones but I suppose like all well meaning government schemes this too has failed... sad

Nimish said...

i really love the second shot with the wheel and its shadow and the human puller.  It is really sad to see these rickshaw pullers, 90 percent of them look very old, go about their work. But we are in no position to judge if it should or should not be banned.
I had a very similar take on the issue and had made a post on the Rickshaw wala some years back. Here's the link - http://goo.gl/LtbYQ 

mayankpandey said...

Thank you Deepak. Yep I remember hearing that too. HOpe Mamta Didi addresses this after she is done with handling the other issues related to federal structure of India.

mayankpandey said...

Thanks Nimish. Glad you like.

Max said...

I always get the feeling that we Indians fight hardest to defend society's mistakes. This is one of the worst forms of exploitations and sadly is still alive. Amazing photograph... 

Zephyr said...

The book City of Joy had such a rikshaw wala as its protagonist. I agree with Max's comment on how we justify a lot of ills in the society. Loved the second shot where the emaciated leg of the rikshawpuller tells the entire story. The rich poor divide is increasing at an alarming rate in our country.

mayankpandey said...

I always an saddened by this sight when i visit kolkata.. and i hope this remains a documentary in photographs soon.

mayankpandey said...

Havent read the city of joy but these men are ubiquitous with kolkata. but you are right, this is just an example - there is no dearth of inequity in our country.

Indiana Amrita said...

I liked the second one much to the gloom of my heart... It drew an uncanny contrast between the beast of burden and the Homo sapiens!
Good thought and depth of creation... :)

Love,
Indie :)

57andrew said...

A thoughtful post and excellent images. The argument over appropriateness goes way beyond the rickshaw guys, which we have done away with here in HK. The whole issue of child labour begs the question, what to do if the family is financially in need of even the most modest of incomes. Who are we to say right or wrong? The patronising old colonials, who have made such a mess of our own societies? It is good that Asia now asks itself the question. We all have much to learn.

7sunita3 said...

such beautiful pictures.. and always very well written thoughts too :) :).. wishing you a very happy new year :) :)

Krunal Palande said...

wonderful shots, love the first one

joshi daniel said...

the second shot is very creative! happy new year :)

Max said...

I hope so too but chances are that wouldn't be the case.

mayankpandey said...

Very well said Andrew and thoughtful of you. Indeed we could be falling in trap deciding for the underprivileged when we have our food on our table and shelter on our head. But I do hope people around are more sensitive.. because only with that there is a hope for a better tomorrow.

mayankpandey said...

Thanks Sunita. Happy 2012 to you too.

mayankpandey said...

indie :) glad you liked. Wishing a great new year to you.

mayankpandey said...

Interesting , but for you most seem to prefer the second one. Thanks.

mayankpandey said...

Thanks Daniel. Wishing you and your loved ones a great 2012 too.

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