A few days ago, I went to faculty of Business studies, University of Dhaka for some personal business. After completing my job, I was looking for a rickshaw to in front of FBS to reach Shahbagh. Suddenly a rickshaw puller who was old and skinny came near me.
Seeing his health condition, I instantly thought that he would not be able to peddle the rickshaw like other young rickshaw pullers and tried to avoid him.
A few moments later I thought that if I avoid him and everybody avoids him for reasons of his old age, how the poor man will survive. Like many other rickshaw pullers, he asked me "koi jaiben" (where will you go?). I told him that I want to go to Shahbagh and enquired about the fare.
He asked for Tk.20. I boarded his rickshaw without any bargaining.
To my utter surprise I observed that the aged rickshaw puller was pulling his rickshaw smoothly and fast. In an effort to know about him I asked him the reason why he was pulling rickshaw at this age.
He told me that he was 74 and he had two sons and one daughter. He stayed with his daughter and his younger son was studying while the elder son after completing education was doing nothing.
I really felt sorry for the rickshaw puller but regretted my inability to do something for him. These days there are many rickshaw pullers who earn their living by pulling rickshaws. In most cases it is found that their children have either abandoned them or unwilling to look after them.
I was wondering if the state could do something for these ill-fated rickshaw pullers who have to look after themselves by doing strenuous jobs like pulling rickshaws.
If the government could start a social safety programme under which this kind of elderly people could be looked after and could live peacefully for the rest of their lives.
Mohammad Zonaed Emran
The Farmers Bank Limited