This work paints a vivid picture of the historical and cultural significance of hand-pulled rickshaws in Kolkata and the challenges they face in the modern era. The juxtaposition of these traditional rickshaws with the backdrop of Gothic architecture, tea culture, and the iconic tram system creates a rich tapestry of the city's heritage. The mention of the rickshaws being pulled by men of thin and sturdy body frame, wrapped in loincloths, highlights the physical demands of this age-old mode of transportation. It's a stark contrast to the modern skyscrapers and flyovers that now define Kolkata's urban landscape. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to a significant reduction in the number of hand-pulled rickshaws, adds a poignant layer. These rickshaws, which have been a part of Kolkata's identity for over 130 years, face challenges in the face of changing times and circumstances. My photograph of hand-pulled rickshaws standing by the roadside in the morning, with a lady passing through, captures a moment frozen in time. Photographs like these serve as powerful documents of the cultural and social history of a city, reflecting both its resilience and the inevitable changes brought about by time and external factors.
|© Debashis Mukherjee