India is a magical country in the minds of many people. The population of this country is similar to that of China, but the overall economic situation is much worse. What everyone knows about him is in many cases based on domestic media platforms or social networks. Whenever I think of India, people think of trains full of people, buses with people on the roofs, and crowded streets.
There is an industry that plays a very important role in Indian transportation, and it almost takes on most of the daily travel. Today I will share with you the story of the Indian tricycle industry.
Let me share with you the intuitive experience of contacting Indian tricycle drivers.
I went to India for the first time, Nalanda in Bihar Province. Although Bihar is now considered to be the place with the most backward economy and high crime rate in India, it used to be the seat of the Maurya and Gupta dynasties. History. Because it was the first time I went to India, the sensory impact was very strong. I noticed many things. Traffic is definitely also an important part of it.
The tricycle in Nalanda is a human-powered tricycle, and there will be a driver on the side of the road to solicit business. The coachman will charge 20 rupees for pulling the cart far away, which is almost 2 yuan.
The local road is not very good, there is a concrete road on the main street, and it is not very flat. Where the road is bad, such as puddles, the coachman can’t ride, so he jumps down and pushes.
There was a cart puller, and I was very impressed with him, to be precise with his legs. Sitting in the back and seeing his back, his legs are very thin, probably only as thick as my arms (it can compensate for how thick my arms are), and they are purple. It seems that there is some disease. It is very hard to ride. Particularly difficult.
It was January and the weather was very cold. I was wearing a down jacket, but the coachman only wore a scarf and pedaled bare-legged. I couldn’t bear it at the time. I didn’t want to take the car anymore, but I also thought that if all the passengers did not take the car because he was very weak, then he would have no income and would have a worse life. Paradoxes like this often appear in India.
From this, I began to pay attention to the overall living conditions of the driver.
In Varanasi, the most famous city on the banks of the Ganges, many homeless people live in empty places under bridges and roadsides. Their home is a tarp or three walls a little over one meter long, and people just barely sit in it, sitting on the muddy ground. If the Ganges water rises during the rainy season, it will rush into the streets, and the homeless will have to move to find another place.
It is in the ancient cities where this polarization between the rich and the poor is concentrated. Tricycle drivers lined up to park in crowded places. Like coach drivers everywhere, when asked how much money, they will first offer a very high price, and then slowly lower it a little bit. If it doesn’t work, they won’t talk. Ignore you, just talk about it. It crashed, look for the next one.
Many passengers complained that the coachman raised the price. On the whole, because the social resources that the driver has access to are very limited, the only way for them to increase their income may be to bargain. If you can talk to foreign tourists about a relatively high price, then their overall income will increase. This kind of bargaining is not always successful, they just try randomly.
The income of the coachman is only to maintain a little bit of food every day, so the bargaining is basically caused by the lack of other social resources. However, as a passenger, it is tiring to go through several bargains every day, so the passengers will have the impression of dissatisfaction with the driver.
Because of the relationship between the passenger and the driver, the driver is positioned lower in the overall social evaluation, even though the role of tricycles in Indian traffic is very important. The root of this kind of social evaluation is the classification standard of Indian industry.
The Indian industry classification group is often divided into formal and informal, formal industry and informal industry. In a very superficial way, the departments registered with government agencies, such as enterprises and shops, are classified as formal, while those in other industries that have not been registered with institutions are informal. Of course, it is certainly not rigorous to simply say this, but here is just to give you a straightforward impression.
In India, more than 90% of the industries are informal industries, and their contribution to India’s GDP accounts for the vast majority. The tricycle industry belongs to this informal industry. The coachmen have their own union, and the union will charge a certain fee to maintain the coachman’s injury, accident insurance, and so on. However, each driver is responsible for his own profits and losses, and he is responsible for his own car repair fees, fuel costs, and so on.
Many times a driver who has a car will sell his car because of his livelihood and become a hired driver himself until he saves enough money to buy a car of his own. If you make a lot of money, buy another bag for someone else to become an employer.
Tricycle drivers constitute an important part of India’s transportation and can be said to be the vast majority of public transportation. Because very few tricycles have been registered, it is difficult to know how many vehicles and drivers there are in a city. Let me give you a number. There is a concept. According to the research of social historian Smita Sen in Kolkata, there are about 10,000 registered tricycle drivers, but in fact, there are about 30,000 to 100,000 tricycle drivers. Every day Carrying 15 million passengers.
However, the social status and social evaluation of the driver is not very high. When reporting tricycle accidents, many Indian newspapers focused on tricycle driving causing injuries and deaths to passengers or other vehicle personnel or tricycle driver violence, but it rarely reported on tricycle driver’s traffic accident damage or passengers’ infringement on it.
It seems that portraying the tricycle driver as a maker of chaos and violence is a kind of public entertainment gossip, collective pastime. The listener and the speaker may not be so serious, just let this gossip continue to spread. The truth is that people actually don’t care so much, just as the driver is positioned by social cognition. Practitioners in many other industries have also been positioned in a fixed class.
Although the transportation of tricycles must be the vast majority of the daily traffic in India, there are not so many objective and neutral reports or studies on the driver. They are not labeled by society as a formal identity.
However, in fact, tricycle drivers have their own set of operating rules. Despite the lack of government management or municipal support, the operation of the tricycle industry is in order.
When I was in Pune, I had to ride a three-wheeled motorcycle every day, so I gradually understood the order of their work. Tricycles are waiting for passengers in order every day. If the passenger chooses the car behind, the driver will take the initiative to ask the passenger to tell the driver in front. Only when the driver in front cannot say to go, the driver in the back Will go to jump in the line to pick up. This seems to be an industry practice, safeguarding the interests of all drivers. Such rules are neither written regulations nor municipal requirements. They are the management of the practitioner’s spontaneous itinerary to maintain the order of the industry.
on the other hand,
Although Indians themselves like to make jokes about three-wheel drivers, saying that they like to detour and ask for a lot of money, but from my own experience, three-wheel drivers are very good communication and very helpful in most situations.
Three-wheeled drivers are particularly enthusiastic, like to talk about their homes, and even point them to me when passing by. When going to some remote places, when it is not convenient to take a taxi on the return journey, the driver will offer to wait for me for an hour and give me his phone number if I can’t find him out. There are also drivers who like to talk about political events, and they always want to ask me what I think. I basically don’t have any opinions, it’s great to listen to them.
The interior style of each driver’s tricycle is very different. Some like to listen to music very loudly, so they have big speakers, some like burning incense, and a stick of incense is lit in front of them, and some like decoration and hang in it. There are a lot of colorful accessories, some drivers like to dye their hair in different colors, and some drivers stop by to sell waste newspapers on the way to send passengers. From these details, we can feel that the tricycle driver is a very warm and rich profession.