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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Traditional Means of Transport And Communication (Series) - Karachi Victoria. (1995-7)

The buggies on the road at Karachi resemble those which one can only watch in an ancient movie. They are not just a part of our old culture but these buggies have their own heritage as well.
Basically the buggies are of Victorian times. They came or were introduced in the then British India during the late 19th century, very much a part of the British \"imports\" to this part of the world, they became like others a part of the culture in the South Asian Sub Continent.
Those were the time when riding in a horse cart was \"in\' thing.
Slowly the technological advancements took over the cultural background and buggies went out of fashion and off the roads. But even then, some for emotional reasons and others for monetary reasons never parted with their buggies and that is why even today, one can see buggies playing on the Karachi roads hustled in between the Accords and the Pajeros but still maintaining their own composure which was there when they first came on the road centuries ago.
What is truly amazing about the buggies which are on the roads even now, is the fact that the manufacture still follows the century old procedure of what his forefathers had incorporated.
According to manufactures of these buggies their forefathers believed in the \'Hand Made\" theory and even today with the availability of tools and technological know-how these cart builders follow the ancient technique, from the grind of the wheel to the upholstery on the seats all done by hand. Even the paint on the buggies is done by brush and doil paint. A buggy can take anywhere between three months to one year before it ready for the road, depending on how much detail one is willing to go into. Then there is of course the Gariwala himself who has been doing the same job for generations. He is an institution by himself, and a tourist can or should talk to these guys just to know more about the city, its culture and its people.
Leaving every thing aside, these buggies rides are really worth it. Forget the hand made stuff, the culture background and the heritage attached to these buggies. Above all they are simply good fun. A class above the maddening aerodynamics of the new Japanese imports of the supersonic travels of a Concord. These buggies reminds one of the past when everyone had enough time to enjoy life and not be bothered about the Fax coming in from New York. Perhaps the best way to describe and enjoy the buggy rides is to put on ear walkman (another hi tech equipment) and listen to Bobby Mc Ferrin singing \"Don\'t Worry - Be Happy\". This then is the real world we have been living in. So. go out there and ask for Gariwala by name. Happy buggy riding.
To commemorate this means of Transport Pakistan Post is issuing a stamp of Rs. 5/-denomination on May 22,1995.