Europeans On Hand Pulled Rickshaw In India,1918 Photo
A 1918 photo of two Europeans riding on a hand-pulled rickshaw. Once abundantly found in and around cities during the British India era or after. These Hand-Pulled Rickshaws have almost faded from the scene. Some still survive in tiny pockets of Kolkatta and other cities, probably in their last phases.
They evoked old-world charm and nostalgia, an iconic transportation system for some. But cringeworthy to others, equating it as some sort of modern-day slavery. The photo shows a hand rickshaw with two British occupants, a man, and a woman. Two men pull the vehicle from the front while two men (partially visible) push it from the back.
Although oppressive by today’s standards, and since automobiles were not on the scene. Until then it was a practical mode of transportation for many. The cycle rickshaw was invented in the 1880s but started to be used in regularity from the 1920s onwards in many Indian cities. And it was far more efficient than the hand-pulled rickshaws. Later the still more efficient petrol-driven autorickshaws would appear on the roads.
Did you know- in pre-independence times and post-independence times, Kolkatta’s affluent would travel in palanquins. The hand-pulled rickshaw became the standard for the upper and middle classes to show their status. Indicating that even in the way of transportation it became a show of class.
From the collection- Vintage Oleograph Raja Ravi Varma “Vishnu On Sheshnag”., Writer’s Building Calcutta – Old Postcard 1900., View Of Bombay Fort & Harbour – Old Print 1840., Vintage Book – With Wellesley To Madras