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Traditional Bengal Rickshaw puller - international fame of art

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Length    :  24 cm
Breadth   :  33 cm
Height     :  24 cm
Width      :    1 cm
Weight     :  345 gms

International Art of Fame

Kolkata is among the only places in India — and one of the few left in the world — where fleets of hand-pulled rickshaws still ply the streets. This traditional hand-pulled cart (tana rickshaw), which seats one or two people and pulled by thin sturdy runner men, dashing through the streets of Kolkata, immediately fills the citizens with nostalgia, belongingness and a sense of identity.  Long before three wheeler rickshaws became popular, these hand pulled rickshaws were the only mode of everyday transportation for the common people of the city. Originally invented by the Japanese, the British introduced it in India during the 1800’s as a means of mobility for the common people and surprisingly, it survived till this present time while the British left India in 1947. It is thrilling indeed that, even after 130 years of its inception, one can still catch sight of these human powered transports running through the narrow alleys of North Kolkata.  

The men who operate them are called rickshaw wallahs. (Wallah is a term for someone who carries or procures something.) Some pull their rickshaws more than 10 miles a day while carrying several hundred pounds — the combined weight of the rickshaw and a couple of occupants. Rickshaw wallahs don’t earn a living serving tourists. Their clientele consists mainly of local Kolkatans: shoppers coming to and from markets, or residents transiting the city’s narrow side streets. Schoolchildren, picked up at home and dropped at school every day, often represent a steady income. If someone is sick at night, a rickshaw will do just as well as an ambulance. And when monsoon rains fall, usually between May and September, rickshaws — pulled through waist-deep water — can provide transportation to places that motorized vehicles cannot reach.


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