Human Horses

PhotographerPalani Mohan
Prize2nd Place in Portraiture
Entry Description

Kolkata has approximately 18,000 rickshaw which have always been a iconic part of the city . They where introduced over a century ago by the Chinese and they play a very important role in moving not only people but goods thought the city. These rickshaw wallers carry every thing from school children to live chicken. In the incredibly narrow lanes of the city and it doesn’t take you long to figure out why these rickshaws have survived the test of time. The Marxist government of West Bengal state in India have described the jobs of the rickshaw pullers of Kolkata as “barbaric”, “despicable” and “inhuman”. There is no place in the year 2010 they say for the “Human horses”. Men with bare feet pulling other men for 18 hours a day in the heat and the rain for a few rupees. But the cities residents disagree. Almost all of the pullers originate from the state of Bihar one of India’s poorest states. They come here looking for work leaving there families behind in the villages. Its hard, lonely and sadly a pathetic existence.