End of an Era

Today is the last day that the humble tanga/tonga will ply the streets of Delhi. The single horse driven light carriage had been around since time. With the arrival of other means of transport like rickshaws and auto-rickshaws, the use of the tangas had diminished a bit, but the fun of the ride ensured that it didn’t fade away completely. Every one of us born before 1990 would have experienced a ride in the tanga at least once. My most memorable experience was when I was around 6 years old. Me and my mother were going to the station to catch the Shatabdi to Punjab. It was raining cats and dogs and the streets going to the railway station was flooded. It was a big problem then, whenever it rained heavily, most of the roads used to be flooded with at least knee deep water, and the low lying areas were even worse. Naturally the traffic was blocked and half the cars had stalled because of water entering the hood. Even our Ambassador betrayed us in between and refused to go any further. My Grandfather, who was driving it, told us to go ahead and he got us a ride in a tanga. It was, I assure you, quite fun. The carriage kept going on through the flood water, without stopping.

It was an uncomplicated device, running mostly on a single horse power engine, but a bigger two horse power engine was also available. As the government today bans the tangas from the roads of Delhi, we can remember the happy memories on this vehicle and watch as it trots into the pages of history.

2 Responses to “End of an Era”
  1. delhizen says:

    have u ever crossed that area where all the tonga pullers live? near LNJP hospital… trust me the animals are better off… thr stables were a dump of s***
    as for the source of bread and butter- i am sure they were not earning much anyway.

  2. Prateek says:

    Hmmmm…..it was an account of a time when I was about 5 years old, didn’t think much about the living conditions of horses then and it was just a joy ride.
    Yes I agree that it is good for the beast. I remember the horses in Amritsar Cantt.(where I learned horse riding) and then I see the horses here. You don’t need to go visit the stables near LNJP.
    And connected to this, we can also talk about the condition of cows. They are sent to roam around the streets, they eat plastics and other such items and the so called owners just gather them around in the evening to take milk(many times the calf is left hungry). And to think more than half the population calls it mother.
    I think after horses, a rule shold be made for cows.

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