Photographer's Note

As of 2005, the last sizeable fleet of true rickshaws can be found in Kolkata (Calcutta), where the rickshaw puller union resisted prohibition. Several major streets have been closed to rickshaw traffic since 1972, and in 1982 the city seized over 12,000 rickshaws and destroyed them. In 1992, it was estimated that over 30,000 rickshaws were operating in the city, all but 6,000 of them illegally, lacking a license (no new licenses have been issued since 1945). The large majority of rickshaw pullers rent their rickshaws for a few dollars per shift. They live cheaply in hostels, trying to save money to send home. (Eide, 1993) Each dera, a mixture of a garage, repair shop, and dormitory, has a sardar that manages it. Pullers often pay around 100 rupees (around $2.50 United States dollars) per month to live in a dera. Hindu and Muslim pullers often share housing.Some pullers sleep in the streets in their rickshaws.

The photograph was taken at Esplanade area of Kolkata.


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Additional Photos by Partha Pal (partha) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1318 W: 85 N: 1306] (14023)
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