Rusted life

In Dhaka, the bustling metropolis of more than twelve million people, visitors are struck by waves of rickshaws. The colorfully decorated non-motorized vehicles are everywhere. Rickshaw pullers are considered as a third class or classless popularity in our society. We meet them every day. Usually, they are poor people. We might know how miserable life they lead, but never think deeply about them. Most of the time, we don’t know anything about their personal life, their pain and surviving.

Most of the urban rickshaw pullers come from rural areas and from a very poor economic background consistent with the characteristics of rural chronic poverty. Rickshaw pullers are mainly migrated to Dhaka from village areas of Bangladesh. Forced by famine, floods, and debt, an estimated nine out of ten rickshaw drivers have migrated to Dhaka, swelling the ranks of the city’s urban poor. They come here to earn their livelihood leaving their family in village. It’s very rare that they start a new life and married in Dhaka.

Usually they stay in different rickshaw garage in Dhaka in a low cost budget. They earn 500 taka dailies and their daily expenditure is 150-200 tk. They save their daily income and send it to their family. They live in a narrow entresol (macha) on their rickshaw garage. Hundreds of people live in entresol (macha) at night.

Rickshaw-pullers’ lives indeed are full of hardship and uncertainty. Too often, rickshaw pullers who are past their prime end up as beggars on the streets of Dhaka. Yet rickshaw-wallahs, the men who maneuver the three-wheelers around the city’s congested and polluted streets, often remain voiceless. And their lifelong stories of arriving in the metropolis with the dazing eyes of better life, hardship, struggle & the little-big colors of the so-called low life rickshaw-walla remains untold. My documentary will be a tribute to utter these fables.

© Reshad Kamal /


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