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“I am from Nagpur and working in Hyderabad in IT company. I used to travel my hometown often (in a month or two) by railway.
Whenever reached to Nagpur railway station, I hear loud noises from auto-rickshaw drivers, somehow with neat dresses, for Sitabuldi stop (which is a Central stop and around 2/3 km from railway station). They used to charge Rs.15 for shared and Rs. 40/50 for private.
But there are some people who quietly stand to railway station, coming to passengers and asking to opt for their transport. These people are none other than CYCLE RICKSHAW pullers. Most of the time, you will see them filthy, perspired, with untidy and poor dress.
They will charge you Rs 40 or if you negotiate they will drop you at Rs. 25 as well due to the fear they will miss this passenger as well.
Some months back, due to non-availability of auto rickshaws I approached to one of the cycle rickshaw pullers, who was in late 40’s.
His cycle rickshaw was seemed old like his age. He asked me for Rs. 40 but after negotiation, he became ready at Rs. 30. During that 2 km journey, his cycle rickshaw chain went down twice and he stopped to repair it. I asked him why he don’t buy a NEW cycle rickshaw. He laughed and said “Kya saahab, meri din ki kamayi hi 150-200 rupaye hai jisme mujhe apne parivar ko bhi chalana padta hai.”
I was stunned by his statement and kept quiet. He is earning only Rs. 6000 max per month in which he needs to feed his family, send her 9 year daughter to school (Zila parishad of course as he cannot afford any other school). And we used to bargain with them for Rs. 10/20. I think, nowadays, beggars are earning more than that.
I – “Din ke aapko kitne passengers mil jate hai ?”
He – “3-4 mushkil se milte hai”
I – “Oh, Fir baki waqt ?”
He – “Agar passenger na mile toh hum apne rickshaw se boriyo ka saman pahucha dete hai. Hamari majburi ka fayda uthake duakan ka malik humse wo boriyo ka kaam 20-30 rupayo me kara leta hai. Ab kya kare, ye cycle hi hamari rozi-roti hai.. Jaisa kaam mila waisa kr lete hai. Ghar chalana hai.”
Finally we reached to the stop and I handed him Rs. 100. He said, “Sahaab change dijiye, mere paas 100 ka chutta nahi hai”. I asked him to keep the remaining rupees with him. He got surprised and asked, Really ? I smiled and said, yes.
That time I say his face so happy as he had won lottery of lakhs of rupees. I felt contented and left.
I then thought , we, citizens of Modern India, used to spend loads of money over shopping, entertainment, and even cabs and most of the time never compromised/bargained due to the brand or luxury we are getting. But we always bargained with poor, be it rickshaw-wala, street sabji-wala or any poor labour.
Thus in our country, rich are getting richer and poor gets poorer. It is not only due to govt. policies but also because of us, our mentality.
From that time on-wards, I always preferred Cycle rickshaw over Auto-rickshaw drivers for smaller distances and always handed them more money (Rs. 50 or so) than what they used to expect. I might be losing some extra money but the happiness I see it on their face is worth more than that.
Many people are not preferring them as they felt it is time consuming to reach to Sitabuldi or any nearby destination. Of course it is because they don’t have Engine or what is called Horsepower in their cycle rickshaw. But they are hard-working and if you are not in hurry, you can always opt for them, thereby keeping their faith on their work.
Many fesivals are coming now. We can cut down some expenses over decoration/shopping etc. and help the poor labour by not bargaining, or even giving some extra money (Rs 10/20 or so) if you feel its worth so that they can also celebrate the festival and buy some new clothes for their family. A little contribution from everyone can ultimately lead to bigger help.
Same goes for our farmers who are under heavy depression and continuously committing suicide due to drought situation. We depend on them everytime for our food but this time they need us under this horrific situation. I will request @The Logical Indian to share the gateway by which we can provide them monitory assistance or any other help they require.
By doing the above, they will be encouraged for the work they are doing and not feel depressed, which ultimately leading them to become a beggar or do suicide.”
Submitted By ~ Swapnil Anjikar
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