Modernisation blues

Often during modernisation (or as the Maharashtra government calls “Shanghaisation”) of cities, age old practises and traditions come in the way. Examples are the pavement bookshops of Bombay and, as I just discovered, the hand rickshaw pullers of Calcutta.

If the pavement bookshops in Bombay were making pedestrian paths too clumsy, the Calcutta rickshaw pullers are health hazards for themselves. All agreed but weren’t these legalized until yesterday?

Both, the pavement bookshops of Bombay and the rickshaw pullers of Calcutta have been existing from the pre-independence era. The demerits and the hazards posed by them have been identified after 58 years of India’s own Government. And now if the Government has taken a decision, isn’t it that they should also provide these people with other means of livelihood? Will the 1800 rickshaw pullers be simply added to the ever growing unemployed crowd of Bengal?

More about it, here, on the BBC.

7 thoughts on “Modernisation blues

  1. I think we should be able to acheive modernization keeping such places which
    provide a individuality to the place. I still remember thos days in Asansol and Calcutta where
    my aunt used to tell our driver to drop us at the main entrance of the main city and go ahead
    wait for us the market so that we could indulge in some rickshaw tour.

  2. I think we should be able to acheive modernization keeping such places/ things which
    provide a individuality to the place. I still remember thos days in Asansol and Calcutta where
    my aunt used to tell our driver to drop us at the main entrance of the main city and go ahead
    wait for us the market so that we could indulge in some rickshaw tour.

  3. I think we should be able to acheive modernization keeping such places/ things which
    provide a individuality to the place. I still remember thos days in Asansol and Calcutta where
    my aunt used to tell our driver to drop us at the main entrance of the main city and go ahead
    wait for us the market so that we could indulge in some rickshaw tour.

  4. Lived in Calcutta all my life,da streets wud look naked without such rickshawpullers & et i wonder how they are goin to eke out a living coz the government is good at turning a blind eye to such issues.

  5. I loved the pavement bookshops in Calcutta…books everywhere!! It was fabulous. But I found the rickshawas
    very jarring. I understand that this is a means of earning a living…and certainly it is better than begging on streets. And yet,
    I just couldn’t get around the idea of being “ferried” around town at the expense of some poor man (who more often than not is
    elderly) huffs and puffs away while pulling my weight on bare feet. It was like being in a time warp, that. As a foreigner,
    it was a fantastic oppurtunity for a novel experience…but I just couldn’t do it. I had much rather gave the man double the
    fare for him to not take me back to my hotel, wherever.

    That said however, if the government is putting a stop to that, they should have the decency to provide these men with an alternative
    way to earn a living.

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