When auto-rickshaws roam a land…
Crammed with screaming kids while on school-rounds or taking the busy house-wife to the markets, the aspiring jobseeker who can’t afford a cab to reach his interview or even an itinerant traveller seeking up, close and personal experiences, the auto rickshaw is as easily available on the roads as it is maneuverable. A ride in an auto rickshaw has the wind playing with your hair and roaring in your ears, the sights and smells of the world you are passing by wafting in and shouting out tales that can only be honest and real. The ubiquitous pot holes and the chaotic traffic do not upset these relentless road-warriors who can access the most inaccessible spots on your city map.
- When they were born…and as they evolved
At the time of independence when we had hand-pulled rickshaws, and then when we moved to the era of the cycle-rickshaws and fossil-fuelled vehicles, and further on to today’s compressed, natural gas-fuelled versions, the rickshaw has represented an evolution in Indian society.
- And how well they connected to the environment…
Open on two sides, fuelled by CNG, these tough rickshaws barrel down Indian roads with a total disdain for the up-market, air-conditioned comfort of luxurious travel. By allowing the tourist a very personal glimpse of an alien land, it also declares clearly its green intentions.
- …And then they were saluted.
India’s Bajaj Auto is presently the largest manufacturer and exporter in the world. Indonesia calls them ‘bajay’ while in Cambodia they are known as tuk-tuks. Having made their presence felt in various parts of the world, the autos as they are known in India, play an undeniably significant role in the social structure of developing nations. Darting in and about on India’s busy streets the omnipresent auto-rickshaws and their versatility reflect the innate honesty and simplicity of the average Indian.