European Lady On A Hand-Pulled Rickshaw Simla, 1912 Photo
An old 1912 photo of a European Lady on a hand-pulled rickshaw at Simla, now Shimla. By the look of it, this European lady is perhaps of some important standing. A British Governor or a high-ranking British official’s wife? We will not know exactly. Here she is shown seated on a hand-pulled rickshaw at Simla.
Quite evidently ready to be transported by the Indian runners. We already know that Simla was British India’s summer capital for almost six months in a year. Hand-pulled rickshaws were first believed to have originated in Japan in 1869. The primary reason for using manpower was that it was cheaper than horsepower.
Since horses were expensive to maintain and were used more for the military. The hand-pulled rickshaw became a cheap and popular mode of conveyance by the 1890s across Asian countries. Japan set up rickshaw manufacturing and exported them as far as South Africa. This concept of hand-pulled rickshaws spread rapidly and far. Singapore got its first rickshaw in 1880.
They were so prolific in Singapore that it became a common feature. So was the case in China, Hong Kong, Korea, and India. But once the automobile came into the scene it became a symbol of embarrassment. In Japan, they were discontinued by the 1940s. In other countries, they lasted until the 1980s to the 1990s.
Did you know – in India it was introduced in the early 1900s. It spread out rapidly to Calcutta, Bombay, Cochin, Madras, etc. But between the 1960s to the 1980s, it was discontinued. Calcutta banned it only in 2005.
From the collection – Raja Ravi Varma’s “Mohini On A Swing” – Vintage Print 1930s., Earliest View of Bowring Institute Bangalore, 1890., View Of Bangalore From St Andrew’s Church 1890., The Dutch Capture of Cochin – Antique Plan 1702.