Doing good quietly: HT reader Anil Vinayak took a rickshaw ‘joy ride’ just to help this man
Vinayak wanted to bring a smile on the face of Baldev Kumar; he didn’t want to embarrass him by offering donation
HT reader, Anil Vinayak from Amritsar, saw a rickshaw puller, Baldev Kumar , roaming in the scorching sun, desperately looking for a passenger. Vinayak decided to take a joy ride in his rickshaw, just to be able to help the man without embarrassing him. The incident led to an unlikely camaraderie between the two. “When I signalled him to stop, a smile lit up his face. A 10-minute joyride compensated by Rs 50 made his day,” shares Vinayak.
A large number of rickshaw pullers, house-helps, daily wage labourers and other informal workers were left in the lurch, as the government imposed the lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus scare.
Harry S. Truman, the 33rd president of the United States, had once said, “The place of labour is side by side with the businessman and the farmer - and not one degree lower.”
But it’s tragic that these labourers and daily wage workers have been living on the margins in big cities, earning a little more than what they could have earned in their home towns, somehow surviving in dilapidated conditions. Most of them have insecure jobs in the informal sector and are never accorded any dignity for their work.
Vinayak says, “All of us have been feeling the pressure of the lockdown and these daily wagers have been hit the hardest. I have seen Baldev Kumar many times as he waits with his rickshaw in our vicinity. He has catered to so many people at so many points. Some of us choose to ignore the plight of these workers because we feel that we cannot do much to make an impact in their lives. At a personal level, the least that we can do as individuals is to consciously acknowledge the dignity of labour. We must break down the social hierarchies that we have internalised and recognise the importance of all work.”
Vinayak shares that Kumar shared our story published on May 21 with his friends and other rickshaw pullers. “He was on cloud nine with when he saw his picture in the newspaper. The article led vegetable vendors in my locality asking for their stories to be published too, so that even their good work reaches to a larger audience!.”
A little appreciation post by Anil and HT made Kumar so happy.