Dhakaiya Profession

Bull Cart Puller- A Case Study

Posted in Bull Cart-puller by rrasheeka on February 27, 2009

Photography: Salman Saeed

Turning his head sideways so that the sun did not fall directly on his eyes Mohammad Siraj told me that he used to be the assistant of a cart puller when he was a young boy. From there he had learned how to take care of bulls. But he does not let his son come near the bull cart. He does not want his son to become a bull cart puller. He wants his son to grow up and study and do a proper job where he could have a good living. He lives in Nawabpur and every morning he walks to Kamrangichor to take the two bulls and the cart that he rides. From there he goes to Shadarghat to collect the goods and deliver these goods to the instructed place.

He is not satisfied with what he earns. But there is something about this profession that really thrills him. It’s the ability to be able to control the bulls. While saying this, a smiled formed at the corner of his face. It makes him feel empowered. Hearing him say this made me think. This person who is deprived from so many things in life, who has to take orders from others day in and day out, feels good about the fact that there is some being whom he can boss around, even if it’s just two animals.

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Bull Cart Puller

Posted in Bull Cart-puller by rrasheeka on February 24, 2009

Photography: Salman Saeed

Bull carts are not seen in all parts of Dhaka very often. But in Old Dhaka, if you go around the streets you will come across many bull carts everyday. Especially if you are in any street that is linked towards Shadarghat, you will definitely see a number of bull carts pass by.

From early in the morning the work of the bull cart puller starts. These people are very hardworking. They not only look after the bulls but they are also responsible for the bulk of goods that they collect from the Shadarghat and take to the destination. They work from sunrise to sunset taking goods to and fro. Most of the pullers are people who do not own either the bulls or the cart. They cannot afford to buy these. There are people who give bulls and carts for hire. The pullers take it from the owners early in the morning and return them at night. So, everyday, they have to pay the owners a percentage of what they earn everyday. After that, a very small amount is left for these people and their families. The lives of these people have ended up becoming sad tales that people tell to each other. It’s a sad tale of how life has treated these people. The labor that they give is underpaid to the extent to which it can be called exploitation and they don’t even have a voice.