A rickshaw that costs more than Rs 1 lakh
The humble cycle rickshaw now has a haute avatar. Inspired by the desi rickshaw, US fashion label launches a limited edition version, complete with a collapsible kantha-fabric canopy, ghungroos and kitschy Hindi catchphrases.fashion and trends Updated: May 21, 2012 15:50 IST
The makers say they were inspired by Indian rickshaws on a recent visit to the country. Available online, they are touted as "quixotic carriages" meant for actual use or even as display pieces.
For Indian designers, this is yet another sign of something desi becoming a global icon. "It is wonderful that the world is taking such strong cultural inspiration from India," says designer Payal Jain, who created a designer rickshaw last year. "The West often borrows from us. Whether it is zardozi or yoga. Now the rickshaw has become a fashion statement," says designer Dolly J, who also showcased a fancy rickshaw last year.
However, given that the price of a desi rickshaw is around Rs. 8,000, the designer version has come under criticism. "Not only is it crazy expensive, but it also seems a little iffy to us to drop tons of cash on a corporate-fancified vehicle that many impoverished people in the developing world rely on to scrap together income," wrote the Huffington Post.
Rickshaw pullers in Delhi are amused. "Ek lakh toh bahut jyada hai! Hum Rs. 8,000 mein hi mushkil se kharidte hain. Unke paas bahut paisa hoga," says Sunder Kant, a rickshaw puller in West Delhi. "Woh chalaenge aisa rickshaw? Kisi din main bhi usme baithna chahunga," says Mohan Sharma, a rickshawallah in South Ex.
Made in India designer rickshaws
Fancy rickshaws by Indian designers have been part of fashion week venues in 2010 and 2011. Designers such as Samant Chauhan, Rohit Bal, Manav Gangwani and others have created trendy rickshaws. These have been donated to the rickshaw pullers of Delhi University.