Traditional tonga-savaris ride into history in Lahore

Source (ANI): Thousand of families who used to earn their bread by plying tongas in Lahore are on the brink of starvation, as, after the ban imposed by the Pakistan government, only a few ply on the a selected roads.

Till just a few years ago, before the ban was imposed, there were nearly 4000 tongas in the city ferrying school kids and office goers, that too absolutely pollution-free.

Thousands of people, who were associated with this business, became jobless as a result and the recent spell of inflation has added to their miseries.

According to the kochwans (those who run tongas ), the government should have arranged an alternative means of livelihood for tonga-drivers and others who had been associated with this business for decades.

The cost of motorcycle-rickshaw, the most common mode of intra-city transport presently, is still out of the reach of the poor kochwan. While many of the kochwans have dismantled their tongas , others have converted them into donkey-carts, reported the Daily Times.

The paper quoted Munshi Sharif, a kochwan at a tonga stand outside Delhi Gate, as saying that after the ban around a decade ago, around 12,000 kochwans had been rendered jobless.

The tonga was a pollution-free transport, while motorcycle rickshaws emitted poisonous smoke due to which most of the people of the northern Lahore were suffering from respiratory affections, he said and added that presently tongas were plying only on a selected roads, like from Masti Gate Khokhar Road and from Salamatpura to Rashidpura. (ANI)

Picture from flickr

7 responses to “Traditional tonga-savaris ride into history in Lahore

  1. Tongas were one of the oldest system of transportation in Hindustan and Pakistan, They provide bread and butter to people who are associated with this profession from generations.

  2. I have such fond memories of riding tongas whenever we visited Pakistan. The demise of tongas and the resultant effects on the families are terrible.

  3. The tangaywalla has a unique sense of humour which the rickshaw wala just does not have. If he wanted to admonish a pedesetrian, he would remark, “oye, garoon larr kay ayan way” (Hey! did you quarrel with your wife before coming). Alas! the Lahori spirit is fading.

  4. Well Delhi has already said good bye to these tongas.As a child we used to cherish our rides from the New Delhi railway station to our Bhua’s home in Golmarket.Now only some rickshaws ply in between the maddening traffic of present day Delhi.Your picture takes me back to those times whose pictures are all in my mind only.Thanks

  5. They are very dangerous for other traffic. They should only be allowed in specific areas where there are no vehicles and motorbikes.

  6. Great writing, great emotions!
    Does anyone know a name of a wealthy tonga business owner in Lahore in 1880s, murdered by some family member? His son was Ahmed Baksh, my father (d. in 1978), from Rajgar in the Walled City.-
    I am in my late 70s, and would like to piece this story for the younger family members.-Any leads would be gretly appreciated.
    Muhammad Fiaz, PhD (U of T), studied sociology in Lahore in th 1960s

  7. This post reminded me of my childhood in Lahore in the 60s when tongas ruled the city. I once wrote a post on the tongas – the poors’ Rolls Royce

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