Rickshaw, the traditional eco-friendly, non-motorized vehicle in Bangladesh . Japanese word rickshaw refers to Jin-rickshaw. It is a popular transportation in West Bengal and around Bangladesh since 1938. First time it was a vehicle of the high society but now has becomes common transportation of middle class.
Bangladeshi rickshaw is artistic decorated by plastic flower, ornaments and rickshaw art. These arts are done by enamel colors, usually bold and vivid. At the back of rickshaw there are beautiful paintings of grameen scenarios and Bangladeshi movie stars. After independence, we witnessed the paintings portraying the Liberation War. The forms of art changes with time. By emerging of the digital technology, the rickshaw art now facing the struggle of existence The rickshaw artists are illiterate and have no formal art education. However this high motif art is not well recognized by the schools of art.
By doing a whole days of hard work a rickshaw puller still can not earn proper money for quality existence. The average income to a rickshaw puller is 200 taka but it is higher than the garments. But rickshaw pullers can not lead a good life due to illiteracy and superstitions. They generally take unhygienic food in the roadside restaurants. However the rickshaw pullers are not socially well recognized. They live in slums, generally don't have family planning and can not send children to school, thus thing then into street children. Bachelor rickshaw pullers live like homeless people whereas they are actually NOT homeless.
Rickshaw pullers comes from the villages, mostly are economically marginalized but a huge chunk of the money is being redistributed back to the villages.
PROBLEMS AND SETBACKS:
The crude reality, Bangladesh government is now evicting the rickshaw from Dhaka with the help of World Bank. Already the rickshaw has been banned in the major roads to reduce traffic congestion. This policy is hampering the income of the rickshaw pullers without ensuring alternatives jobs. If complete eviction takes place, not only we will lose a heritage, but it will increase the crime by marginalized community as they will loose their income. Furthermore the rickshaw pullers live in a high risk of HIV/AIDS as they live far away from their families and sometimes get involved with unprotected prostitution.
Riding on the rickshaw is not mere commuting for the Bangladeshis, but is also a pleasure ride for the foreigners. As there are a lot of commotions about pollution worldwide, so this eco-friendly vehicle is certainly a sustainable mode of transportation.
--------------------------------------------------------- Idea and Direction: Prof. Brian Shoesmith Coordination: Shahjahan Siraj Voiceover: G.S.Don; Script: Md. Nabil Photography: Asafudollah Raju, Faiz-un-Nessa, Sharmin Aktar, Ahamed Rakib, Sjovon