Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bullock Carts in Delhi


Unbelievable! Yes, bullock carts ply in Delhi with as much ease as you and I walk in it. Difficult to comprehend well, I too did. My hunt for it started as I had to write on India’s mighty bullock power. There were realms of data in all publications, but when I wanted to get images see it in action, it was Nada - nothing.

The general refrain, farmers prefer tractors and no one really wants to maintain bullocks. Bullocks were definitely seen as going backwards. The official agencies were talking of hi-tech farms run on modern technology and my insisting on information on bullocks was retrograde. When I quoted figures which said that average land holding of farms was small and fragmented, most farmers still used bullock power and as number prove it was high….at last the doors opened.

The first find, is of bullock carts driven for carting goods in my own backyard….yes cosmopolitan, capital of the country, Delhi still uses it to ferry goods, almost surreptitiously, in the wholesale market areas. The bullock carts are drawn by just one bullock given the space constraints on the roads. The markets of Chandni Chowk, the old market place which houses whole sellers of almost all items – from grains, clothes, tyres, chemicals, spices…..the bullock pulled carts run from the Sadar Bazaar (another whole sale market) to Naya Bazar Anaj Mandi (grain market - from where the goods are transported on rickshaws or physically carried). These though are drawn by a single bullock. It is interesting how the animal neatly navigates itself without any problem in a road with plying Cars, Mercs, Autos, Bikes, rickshaws, Horse carriages…

My attempts to photograph were shunned with a request, you will get us in trouble with the authorities. But the fact is that Bullock Carts are used regularly to run the business and cart goods in the entire Old Delhi area and beyond. One can see it towards Rohtak, Nangloi, East Delhi, Kondli….

Location – Sadar Bazaar, Chandni Chowk, Kondli….
How to get there – Take the Metro or an auto from Connaught Place.
Timings – It can be seen on the roads on nearly all days.
Highlight – It is fun the way the drivers race the empty bullock carts to fill it up for the next ferry.  
Insider Tip – If you are looking to transport goods, then this bit may come handy. Go haggle and understand the system of transportation and the price. For tourist value, like I went, just go, enjoy the site. Once upon a time, travelling in a bullock cart driven by a pair of bullocks was a status symbol. Remiscent of the past. It can have tourist potential, but who cares these days. Take a dekko and store it in your memory for prosperity!!!