Rickshaw…..Our Cultural and Traditional Hereditary

Archive for May 2009

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Photo Credit: Google

Even though many would not agree with me, I belive one of the most uniquely relaxing experiences that Dhaka city has to offer is a rickshaw ride through the twists & turns of its innumerable lanes & bylanes. The overall feeling is sort of difficult to explain, simply put – its is just a surge of serveal overwhelming sensations that all come at the same time. Maybe it is the light wind in my hair as the rickshaw wheezes by, or maybe its is the smooth changing scenery – it can even the funny “kring kring” noise of its horn that is so much more forgiving to the ears than those blaring car horns. On a recent ride in a rickshaw I noticed something obvious but rather interesting. In a car it is almost impossible to properly notice your surroundings since most of the time it is going to fast. However, in a rickshaw the speed is just right – to notice the smaller details. It is in a rickshaw that you can notice the name of the small grocery shop, or eavsdrop a bit of the vegetable sellers conversation. It may not seem much – but for me its the small details that make all the differece. To sum it up a a rickshaw ride is not just a meaningless transit – it is a story on three wheels!

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Photo Credit: Google

It is apparent that every rickshaw puller in Dhaka city has a living standard that can hardly be called adequate. However, in this post I would prefer concentrating on its maritial aspect. Much like all low income earners in our city – many rickshaw pullers choose to have a large family with many children. This is a strict traditional approach, since in earlier times the life expectancy of newborns were much less & many would die within a year of birth – therefore people would like to have many kids so at least some of them get to survive. Even though such mentality seems harsh in our modern times, but sadly – it is still a priority many rickshawpullers follow even today. The other reason to have a large family of course – is so that the children can help support the family financially as soon as they are able to. Hence, if one would care to find out – many of the child workers all over the city are sons & daughters of rickshawpullers. The rickshawpullers also have a higher rate of divorce & many cases of women abuse occour due to them.

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Smoking is quite a common habit amongst most of the working classes of people, especially the labors and the rickshaw/van pullers. Being the lower class of the society they smoke inferior quality cigarettes, most of the time biri and consume other forms of tobacco like gul, white smoking leafs, zarda etc. due to frequent tobacco consumption a huge number of these people suffers from the fatal disease cancer. Currently there were numerous researches with the health of rickshaw pullers of Bangladesh some of which are still going on. Recent researches show that nearly 75% of the total rickshaw pullers are chain smokers and consumes other tobacco forms. Amongst them many suffers from lungs cancer due to tobacco usage and severe air pollution of the cities.