Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kolkata Khabar~


There is a long list of things that I would like to change in my world. I am sure, I can impress you with all of it. However, here is a wish that is small and very close to my sensibility.

Since living in Kolkata, I have noticed these Rickshaw pullers. Yes, I rode on a few too. By now, some of them know me. They call out to me when they see me waiting for a cab. And if I am going anywhere near, I give in, to their invites. 
Most of them do not wear slippers and all of them are old in age. I like to chat with them and they do not mind my curiosity. They seem well aware of local politics and amaze me of their intelligence.
Somewhere deep within, I wonder, if is this how God planned this world? My thoughts are fleeting and I forget about it all, as soon as I reach my destination. 
The other day, I was crossing Gol Park, a corner in Kolkata. It is not exactly a corner, it is quite central to Kolkata. Here, time seem to have stopped tick tocking. It is like a part of history that is trying hard to fit in. It has lost it's sparkle, speed and is struggling to impress. I stopped here, to soak in the atmosphere and click a few pictures. I was running late and I was not carrying my camera. Here  are some pictures that I took on my mobile.
If I had the power to change something, I would change the lives of these Rickshaw pullers. Give them a world free of menial labor, a world free of neglect and disregard. If I had the power to change something, I would give them the power to choose a life that does not ignore them, that celebrates them. 

Some action for this one.

And this one had free time.

No customer around for most.

Competition for Rickshaw dwellers.

And roads are full of Auto Rickshaws.
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

84 comments:

  1. It is wonderful when people take a break from their busy lives and think about others not as fortunate as themselves.... thanks for the great pics and lovely writing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Santa,

      Always happy to read your feedback :)

      Delete
  2. I pray God give you that power. and in Chennai this is totally abandoned.

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  3. You are a kind soul Ghazala. My immigrant Chinese friend Liu is quiet taken by the plight of the poor rickshaw pullers. Those are good photographs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Umashankar,

      These thoughts creep up and you feel so powerless. Thanks for your visit :)

      Delete
  4. Ghazala, I have been to kolkata, its such a lovely city- full of life. And we tried to cover everything including Sudder street. I know what you mean, and the curiosity to visit came from me reading City Of Joy in 2006. Ah, now I wish to visit the city again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Poonam,


      So sweet of you to not judge Kolkata by how it is maintained. I love Kolkata too. There is something about the natives, which is simple and straight forward. Thanks :)

      Delete
  5. Hi Gazala..
    Sorry to mess out your comment section..I know I am bothering you but as I am new to blogadda I am not able to understand why my comment with the post link for WOW 4 is not visible on that page ..I tried a number of times and contacted adda people as well but no response from their side...Kindly help me out.. Thanks and regards..... Odyzz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Odyzz,

      No bother at all, I know how you feel. But I wish, you had old me how you like my entry..! :)
      First of all, are you registered on BlogAdda? If no then you can not take part in any BlogAdda contest without it. If yes, then it could be a minor glitch. So wait for them to reply, they usually do within 24 hours. Until then, keep writing ~

      Delete
    2. Um really sorry Gazala..I should have given you the feedback first...after trying for number of times it was getting on to my nerves..Sorry once again ..

      you carved out the true scene of these rickshaw pullers in your post ..and surely its a soulful thought to change their conditions ...loved reading it :)

      Do visit mine though its not a part of WOW 4 but still would love to have your feedback...

      many thanks for helping me out ..I think I will have to wait for Adda people to respond..

      Delete
    3. Thank you, I was teasing you:p
      I tried opening your blog but could not see any on your blogger page. Can you give me your post link. I would love to read your post :)

      Delete

    4. No worries ..I always love the teasing from friends and buddies.. :)
      My link is here..

      http://odizzey.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/if-i-had-the-power-to-change-something/

      Delete
    5. I checked your space, Odyss and left my feedback. Please have patience, things will improve :)

      Delete
  6. Very interesting city-scape! Keep up good work!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Arch,

      Thank you for enjoying the pictures :)

      Delete
  7. I am against any sort of such rides, be it a Tonga or a Bullock cart. I can't stand animals getting tortured in this way but it definitely is much worse when it is a human who have to go through this. I feel for them. You are indeed a good soul, Ghazala. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Akshay G, we all have our moments :)

      Delete
  8. Great thought nicely put!
    Thanks a lot Ghazala for the lovely gift:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amit,

      You are welcome. Please inbox me on facebook your address and mobile number. I need to courier you my book :Ripples :)

      Delete
  9. Life is really struggle for many. When we are planning to buy expensive items to fulfill our wants, there are many who are struggling to make their ends meet.

    Our model of development has failed. Cities are growing bigger and biggger. People are lured into migrating into cities. Unfortunately, it is a mirage and they have to undergo tremendous misery. Wish we can make our villages and smaller towns self-sustaining and stop this migration into cities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. India wilds,

      Such thoughts in all of us should help improve the situation. Thank you for adding to my post :)

      Delete
  10. Ghazala so many times we feel like changing something but don't know how-it does cast a shadow on the mind.

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  11. great thoughts Ghazala .... I have memories of going to school in these rickshaws. I thought they were used no more .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear TTT,

      They are still in use albeit a little less than before. Thank you :)

      Delete
  12. Wonderful shots from the city.

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  13. Ghaz...These hand-pulled rickshaws are considered by many as colonial relics and were banned by the previous Left Front government for being inhuman. But, many were still plying around the city. Now, do you know that these rickshaw pullers have got a fresh lease of life with the civic body planning to issue photo identity cards to these rickshaw pullers....??
    Arghh...it is inhuman and barbaric, to say the least. There are so many things we feel like changing...very nice thoughts!



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Panchalidi,

      These Rickshaw puller probably have not got an alternative livelihood or perhaps they are too old to change. Have you noticed, they are usually so old :(

      Thank you for being here <3

      Delete
  14. Great thoughts!
    I loved the pictures, it is so many years now I was last there.

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  15. Great thoughts!
    I loved the pictures. It is so many years now since I was last there.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ghazala, honestly, I have come to realize, all civilized societies are based on hierarchies – classes or castes, the rulers and subjects, ever since their inceptions. All civilized societies have one characteristic in common – Centralized Power. They could never be democratic! There is no hope for democracy in true sense.
    How long the Leftists are ruling West Bengal? What have they achieved in decades? The same question goes countrywide.
    There is nothing to be ashamed of manual labour – Human Energy or Animal Energy. But the saddest part is fossil fuel energy, for vehicles for example, is costlier than Human Energy.

    You might have come across this story dated 19 October 2012 about a rickshaw puller in Rajasthan, reported by BBC! After the reports: Offers of help have been coming into BBC Hindi after it reported that an Indian rickshaw-puller is carrying his month-old daughter in a cloth sling around his neck after his wife died.
    However, his passengers, the passersby, neighbours... all apathetic.
    Here is a link:< http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20000997 >
    I wouldn’t want to change others. None can – no Buddha, Jesus... can. Only possibility is I may be able to change myself. And the change can happen only if I live on a borderline – minimal – even for a point of time?

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    Replies
    1. You have a definite point, let us start by changing ourselves. Thank you for adding to my post :)

      Delete
  17. Loved your post. Not many of us stop to think about such things in our hurry to get somewhere, do something. They're merely 'vehicles' for most of us. Seems like an inhuman practice but who's to stop it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear OM,

      Thank you and so right, who's to stop it?

      Delete
  18. Hi Ghazala,
    Nice post. I visited Kolkata some years back.This city is full of paradoxes.Rikshaw pullers and other so called low life people ,in fact,active political workers and they keep spying to their above level cadre..!But most of them are not dangerous.

    ...Murthy (A.P.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RVLM,

      Sounds like an interesting plot for a novel. Thanks and welcome to my space. We need informed people like you around:)

      Delete
  19. Being a metropolitan city, Kolkata is really orthodox and neglected. People are slow and full of negativity.

    love
    http://www.meghasarin.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Megha,

      It may seem that way but as you settle down you will find Kolkata warm and helpful :)

      Thank you for the visit ~

      Delete
  20. I used them once when I lived in Kolkotta long ago... do remember them from movies of Balraj Sahney and Om puri in City of Joy... I guess they are a dying relic and no new people will take them up. I am not sure what else these guys can do besides pulling rickshaw.. but I never understood why they can't get a normal pedal one. Good pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Desi,

      I guess normal pedal one costs more money:(
      Thank you for your feedback :)

      Delete
  21. A dreary life for these rickshawpullers, Ghazala! Surely deserve to change. Best wishes for the contest.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The scary part is that this life you see is better than their lives back home.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have not yet been to Kolkata , been hearing about this great old city of modern India. I am excited with the idea of being at Kolkata any time in future.

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  24. I have been always intrigued the way rikshaws are pulled in Kolkata, In my city they are pulled by paddling the cycle. Whenever I grope for an answer to such problems, I find only one cause at the bottom - population. Perhaps this is called survival for the fittest. you can not stop manual labour unless you make sure there is enough to feed every tummy. How is that possible with ever burgeoning population

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear Meenakshi,

      Yes, population and lack of education is the crux of all troubles. Thanks :)

      Delete
  25. I remember them too, and they are very hard working people .. I have taken a couple of rides on this ..

    We need more and more good people who take time out to think about the hard working people and how they get to put food on the table ..

    Bikram's

    ReplyDelete
  26. Really moving pictures Ghazala and although I have never been to Kolkata, I have seen it through the eyes of my many many bengali friends. Time does seem to stop still for a lot of people in our country and I feel whether we are really cruising ahead to the top or just leaving behind our own.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I think Calcutta is the only major city which still has the hand pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw in vogue. This system has to change and these people have to be trained for better jobs, possibly upgrade them to autorickshaw.

    The most humilating of the profession is manual scavenging, hope those people do get freedom from it

    Balu

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  28. Really great thought ..and everyone should feel and think like this at least once in a while. .coz we shouldn't forget that we are human!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I remember reading an article about Albert Einstein as to how he refused to be seated in a hand pulled rickshaw stating that he would not support this practice where a poor man pulls along another seated one. Lovely thoughts

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Madhvi,

      Thank you for this wonderful gift. Thank you for selecting my blog :)

      Delete
  31. I am clueless, what to say or what to be said about such an issue. But something should be done, I don't know how or what. These kind of things evoke sympathy but then everybody goes on to live their life. I asked my mother once, could giving extra money might help them? she replied no they would misuse it only in alcohol or other such stuff. Once I asked a rikhsha wala bhaiya who would take me to school ,why this other rikhsha wala keeps fighting and why he is always drunk( as told by my fellow student). He said " kya kare Bechara rikhsha kheenchna hai toh Peena padta hai" . I didn't get it completely. But I just wonder who is responsible for their condition, they themselves or the country they belong?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I've been forced to take these rickshaws, and it was a traumatic experience.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear damayati,

      it is alright, at times we go with the flow. Thank you for being honest, hugs :)

      Delete
  33. Seriously, one of the things that should be changed. You must a brilliant comparison here. Life is so difficult for some. A thought provoking post Ghazala.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Saru,

      Was missing you here, good to see you girl. Thanks and good day :)

      Delete
  34. I read long time back that there were suggestions for banning the hand-pulled rickshaws in Kolkata. Looks like it never got implemented! :|

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was not possible as alternative employment is not easy in this case :(

      Thanks, Shilpa~

      Delete
  35. I visited kolkatta say around some 5-6 yrs back trust me I didnt have the courage to sit in those rickshaws... I felt so something inhuman about the whole thing :(...I wish we could change that for them by giving them atleast rickshaws or autos!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand how you must have felt. I guess they are too old to gt a licence now :(
      Thanks for sharing your experience :)

      Delete
  36. Loved it!

    Beautiful pictures which moved me as I don't understand how can fellow human being treat another like this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Privy,

      You are a sensitive soul, thanks :)

      Delete
  37. nagpur has a sizeable rickshaw population, but they cycle (as in a tricycle) as opposed to actually pulling it..but either ways it is a difficult life.

    actually the plight of porters at the railway station lugging baggage thrice or four times their weight is as pitiable...

    but is there an alternative? it is their source of livelihood, and unless we can give them some other gainful employment, there couldn't be an end to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree Little Princess, Thanks for the visit :)

      Delete
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  39. Ghazala, that is such a selfless thought. Wish it could happen.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Palanquin – palki – is familiar to most Indians. I don't how ancient it is. Now it is used to take a deity in a procession. At pilgrim places in hilly areas the coolies carry pilgrims on chairs is also known. In Ahmadabad a pair of man and woman carries goods in bullock carts is a common scene on streets. Bicycle rickshaws are common in many Indian towns and cities. In Mumbai men pull loaded hand carts. Scavenging by the untouchables in India is a known story.

    Aren't all these a fate of the lowly? Where, when did it start? What is the root cause? Can I be happy giving lip service to this or any such other issues affecting weaker sections of civil society? Where 300Mn live Bellow Poverty Line and 400Mn are illiterate, can I spare some time?

    I add here a recent news from Kolkata, which many may have seen! This is happening in many areas / fields in many regions.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Rs-100cr-for-Kolkatas-urban-poor-lying-idle/articleshow/17055748.cms

    ReplyDelete
  41. I get what you mean, Archetypes,

    Poverty and lack of education is the root cause. A sad state of life for some :(

    ReplyDelete
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