40-year-old Rajbir Singh pulls rickshaws in Amritsar to earn his bread since 20 years. His rickshaw has been equipped with a donation box, the money of which he intends to help the poor with.
“I put a part of my daily earnings into that box. Any passenger who wishes to also donates. At month end this money goes to poor who cannot afford medicines, books, etc., or any needy passenger who sits in my rickshaw. He/she needs it more than me,” he told the Indian Express.
20 years ago, his father’s health had started deteriorating. As a result, Singh had to resort to rickshaw pulling. He was in standard 10 when he had to be pulled out of school.
IE quoted Singh as saying, “With no other source of income visible to me then, I left studies and sat on the rickshaw of my father. It wasn’t that we were ancestrally poor, it were the circumstances that landed me into this profession.”
Singh gradually started penning his experiences down which have now materialized themselves in his 14-chapter book of short stories titled Rickshaw tey Chaldi Zindagi, priced at 200 bucks.
He told IE, “I started writing because I was in pain. The pain was due to the discrimination that is faced by several poor Sikhs like me. I was watching a television programme in which rich and well-settled Sikhs were being honoured. It was then that I decided to write about those poor Sikhs who work as mechanics, rickshaw pullers, labourers to run their families. The teachings of Guru Nanak said there is nothing like rich Sikh or poor Sikh. I decided to spread this message through my writing and started sending articles to vernaculars.”
His book entails his encounters with “unforgettable” people, as he calls them.
They include a polio-stricken girl and foreigner tourists. “I was stunned when they offered ice-cream to a poor like me. Not only me but all five rickshaw pullers whom they hired. We refused but they made us eat forcibly,” he recounts his encounter with the tourists.
He always keeps a few copies of his book on his rickshaw that, he thinks, gave him the “courage and confidence to write this book.”
Singh is the perfect embodiment of conviction and compassion, isn’t he? He is trying to promote his book through his friends and social media. We should help him with that, shouldn’t we?
News Source: Indian Express