27 January, 2021

Beads Of Sweat On The Mahal Wall

Overwhelmed by history or art, not many spare a thought for the poor rickshaw puller of Jaipur

Beads Of Sweat On The Mahal Wall
The pink city is not exactly in the pink of health. Far removed from the exotic palaces and forts, there’s a dark underside to Jaipur—the plight of 20,000 rickshaw pullers. A cheap mode of transport, rickshaws are concentrated mostly in the walled city covering Ramganj, Johari Bazar, Chandpole, where most of the historical monuments stand.

Most rickshaw pullers don’t own their vehicles but hire them on a daily basis. There are rickshaw kings in the city who own more than 10,000 vehicles and rent them out for rates ranging from Rs 15-20 per day. Undernourished and weak, most pullers suffer from diseases like tuberculosis, respiratory disorders and arthritis.

Despite this gloomy picture, rickshaw pullers like Shabbir Ali, Badhai Das and Salim Ahmad are a happy lot today. Thanks to the efforts of Meetha Lal Mehta, a retired IAS officer who worked towards getting ownership rights for rickshaw pullers. "I thought of working for the proprietorship of rickshaw pullers mainly because the plight of these poor people are not on the government’s antennae. Everybody rides...



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