Friday, July 04, 2008

Terai and Rickshaw

There are few things i really dont like about terai. The first one being the heat. I was brought up in a cool weather (of Baglung and Kathmandu) so cant tolerate heat. The second thing being the dirt and the foul smell. Not all but most places in terai has a peculiar smell that doesnt cope well with my nose. ;) I can point out few others but nothing beats my dislike for rickshaws.

I agree that rickshaws are convenient means of transportation on flat lands of terai and has provided employment to a lot. But dont u think they are inefficient and inhuman??

Yup they are environment friendly but what about efficiency?? It takes ages to go from one place to another. Most people think rickshaws are fastest means of transportation in terai but how fast is 10km/hr??

And i think rickshaws are jus too inhuman. A human or two enjoying the ride in the shade while another human pulling them sweating his breath out in that scorching heat for such a low fare.. how human is that? You ride a rickshaw and the whole time you see sweat dripping from the rickshaw-puller's face, it makes you wonder - what's the price of sweat, BTW?


  1. inhuman... agreed.
    I guess we have to stop thinking super usual at one point and admit the bitter realities around us.

    Yes, its totally unfair one enjoying shade behind and the other stretching every strand of muscle in his body to pull the rickshaw (yes i have tried it once, n i tell you, it feels like leg version of arm fight just to give it momentum)...
    but then, why only rickshaw pullers? what about the porters n all else...
    hell.. forget all those, jus look at you.... why did u walked that walk on Thursday, 1st of July??? why did u take the beating of the rain, that too at 9 at night?? and still "tried" to enjoy the rain??

    why Jw@l@nta?? why you and not others(I've not forgotten the contibution of Shankur, n Surmandal n Prabin here). But still, isn't that injustice, why u had to take all the burden...? Ya, "man on the mission".. i wrote in the other post... but think for a while... they are on mission everyday... mission of sustaining life, n family...
    u've self admitted it is way of their living...

    No, i'm not shouting at you, jus couldn't agree with your view of rickshaw puller...

    and lastly, keep walking those walks, coz one day, i believe, your walk will affect the world for good.

  2. Well !
    It does seem inhumane, but then it is taken for granted back there(and it's the only way there). And talks here ain't going to change that any way.
    I have lived a good portion of my life back there, which is also my hometown.
    I guess it's just the relative comparison that makes it look bad.
    I believe every place has it's own style, that's the way the world goes round, and makes us wanna travel, see things,places, get surprised, disgusted, pleased.
    What more can I say ?
    I (truly)wish everyone in this world had a easier job and a good paycheck :D, but then it would be crazy !

  3. Inhuman?? why inhuman its totally human dude, you are just lite-hearted fellow, harmless and cannot see anyone suffering. Remember world is cruel place, to begin with we have whole skewed meaning of humanity, If humanity is character of human and being a human. Then why did we have slavery, war, crimes and all.
    Human is social predator with combined skill of chameleon and tiger neither leave his prey (even if it is it's own child) and morph quickly to environment and become whatever he want to become. By the definition we have for humanity, being human is worst example of humanity.
    concerning Rickshaw pedaling (pedaling is proper word here, because exact pulling type of rickshaw are profound to Indian cities like Kolkata, see here ) it's just one work which requires great effort and run on totally human power, jwalanta what do you have to say about horse cart and bull cart. Are they Inanimal (shit, there is no such word), or is it okay because they are animal? Whatever we do are matter of our choice, environment and options available. I believe you too did take a rickshaw ride, you could have walked a bit and saved few bucks. similarly the person pedaling rickshaw could have been doing something else. And major problem is there is problem with any else options that can be forwarded. Just like advocating for OSS and knowing why it is not as successful as it should be, at the same time (maybe ppl are stagnant mass of flesh and bones, not feeling like learning and could have been stewed if they were similar to chicken).
    lastly I have some suggestion:
    Jwalanta: Don't ride rickshaw and discourage such act.
    Rickshaw Paddlers: Go get some jobs, don't hurt yourself because by hurting yourself you are hurting amass of ppl like jwalanta
    Other commenter: Plz Plz Plz, don't counter comment me, I hate being countercommented (Its Inhuman :) )
    Myself: Stop!

    Okay I obeyed myself.

  4. Tushar Neupaney7/13/2008 7:24 AM


    Yes, It is lot inhuman to ask someone else pull you down a road. It is hard and not on the pleasure side for anyone to keep their back wet with someone else's fat.

    But, look at what we have done to the world. We have made things cruel. Money has become the only means of exchange.
    And humanity is surviing the bitter life.

    The more you try to be human the more unhumanly you are treated.But still we have to fight...

  5. babaaaa.... what is this....?? may day???? ki nepal is goin to be poineer of rickshaw revolution???
    k ho JD?? danger blog lekhna thaley chau yaar. blog bhanda laamo laamo comment??? ye baaa..

    but seriously... liked the topic being brought up here. liked the views of different ppl...
    i dont have much from my own to say, both sides do have their points. think... is just an instance of a more general debate about Idealities v/s realities...
    I can see equalist here, extremist, optimist here, i can see the dissatisfaction in you, the submission of others,...

    me, I'm a confused kinda a guy and this topic is not an exception. But JD, i agree with one of the commenter, u are light-hearted, harmless and can't see anyone suffering.
    I'm sure JD must have similar feelings towards many other things but this one must be straight out of frustration during his recent visit.
    is this flare?, that fell upon a pool of highly inflammable (ज्वलन्त) person... hehe..

    yes, we all know the realities around us, but as Tushar said, we should not give up fighting...

  6. Yeah. Such thoughts have crossed my mind too. and you may/may not believe but in calcutta (and a very few other places in the world), there are special kind of rickshaws that are pulled by man. i mean, no pedal, a man pulls the rickshaw with hands as he walks/runs atop a very hot metalled road. And calcutta is itself a very hot and humid place. I despised taking such man-pulled rickshaws (in fact, there are only this kind of rickshaws in calcutta) because i thought them to be inhumane and the remnants of a colonial rule that treated the inhabitants of south asia as slaves. Later i read somewhere that the government was thinking of banning such rickshaws. Then there was a very strong protest from the rickshaw pullers. they didnt want the government to snatch their means of livelihood. They had been doing it for years and often the occupation passed down from their parents/grandparents. Also, there was a vested interest of the owners/operators of other means of transport in banning those man-pulled rickshaws.

    That changed my whole idea. Despite having been brought up in the terai and having taken rickshaws a lot, the sight of a man (often old) pulling a rickshaw was never easy on my eyes. But these days, I make it a point to take those man-pulled rickshaws every time I am in calcutta. and sometimes, on purpose.

    1: it is a heritage
    2: it is eco-friendly
    3: it is helping those pullers get on with their lives.
    4: it is transporting me somewhere.

    i think rickshaw pulling is not much different.

  7. Actually, I do not completely agree with jwalanta here. I have no doubt in my mind that it is inefficient. But I would venture into pointying out certain facts. These rickshaws are sources of income for more families in terai than we can actually brush by. So, there needs to be a viable replacement, right?
    These rickshaws cost around 10-15K N.C. to get on the roads. So, a vast majority would be owned by the "driver" himself. A replacement like a safa tempo then becomes an ill-viable option for this man. The remaining options?
    1. Bank loan
    2. Work for others as slaves.
    Before you jump down my throat, Bank loans need collateral. How do poor people who do not have enough to feed themselves bring in expanses of land?
    You would say that one can work for others without being their slave. The ground reality is however, very much different.Most people who work in such capacities end up as slaves, and the binds do not let up even through several generations, gov. regulations notwithstanding.

    So, on humanitarian grounds, I believe that the man in your picture would rather work much harder than he should have to rather than being subject to slavery and abject poverty.

    On the efficiency scale, i completely agree with the writer. Maybe if the replacement is a more humane alternative.....



  9. Down with racism
    हिमाल पहाड तराई।
    कोही छैन पराई।।