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Indian Honest Rickshaw-wala

Updated on May 7, 2011

Pravin Vaghani (Photo by Unusha Vaghani)

I have found honesty in many people in many places
I have found honesty in many people in many places
Cycle Rikshaws
Cycle Rikshaws
Pedometers - Space Counters
Pedometers - Space Counters

A Touch of Honesty



India, A Country of Diversity

(This is a True Story)

     India is a very vast country and very unique in the combination of diverse culture, religious beliefs, languages and food habits all under one umbrella. Outside of India very few people really know about ‘whole’ of India and so the views and concepts vary from person to person depending upon from which angle they have the knowledge about India.

Corruption, Honesty

     One very widely known opinion about India is that there is corruption at every level of the society and the government and that the honest people are very difficult to find, if they can be found at all. Not only the visitors or travelers but the Indian themselves are ready to tell you enthusiastically the stories of their experiences in India to corroborate their beliefs. It may therefore sound a paradox if one tells about the ‘pleasant and happy ending’ tales of encounter with the Indians of lower category who are socially and economically at the bottom end of ‘money only minded’ structure of the society.

The Rickshaws

     In February, 1992, I was on a business trip and staying at a hotel in a small town in Rajasthan. Cycle rickshaws, pedal driven, were the only means of transport to go around the town. A few rickshaws would be waiting outside the hotel. You go and ask there. Although they don’t stand in a line, they have pretty good mutual understanding amongst themselves. I have never seen them fighting. Whoever is in turn will come forward. In those days, these rickshawwala may be earning about Rs.50.00(A$1.50) in a day which at the end of the day will help him to buy grocery to feed the family during the next 24 hours.

The Pedometer

     Now, as per my doctor’s recommendation I had to walk a few kilometers every day. To measure the distance I walked I had a ‘Pedometer’ with me which I used to clip on my belt. That day morning, after breakfast, I had gone out for a walk. Then removed the pedometer and put it in my pocket. After that I went out for my business work. In the evening, when I wanted to go for a walk, I looked for the pedometer. It was not in my pocket. I could not find it anywhere. It may have dropped out of my pocket when I must have taken something out of the pocket or it may have slipped out when I was sitting somewhere. I had been to so many places during the day that there was no use even guessing where I may have dropped it.

The Rikshaw-wala

     Next day after getting ready I went to get a rickshaw. While I was talking to a rickshawala about where I wanted to go, another fellow came near me and asked me if I had lost my mobile. I had no mobile so I said I did not lose anything. Then, without showing me, he went on to describe the mobile which he had found in his rickshaw yesterday, which sounded like the description of my pedometer, and added that yesterday I was the only person he had picked up from this hotel and thought it must belong to me. So I said, yes I did lose something yesterday and told him what it was. Smilingly he pulled out the pedometer from his pocket and handed it over to me.

Does Honesty Have A Price ?

     I offered him Rs.100.00 as reward for his honesty, which he first refused to take saying, ‘he is a god-fearing person and his honesty does not have a price,’ but accepted only after much pleading him and my saying, ‘please accept it as a gift to buy toys for your child.’

     Later, another rickshawwala told me that that person was offered Rs.500.00(his ten days earning) for that gadget, but he wanted to try and find the rightful owner, and if nobody claimed it, then only he will take advantage of that offer.


     Who are we to judge a person by his look, or what he does for a living or where he lives ?


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      Siddhartha 6 years ago

      Most of the communities in India (such as Bengali), are succumbed in 'Culture of Poverty'(a theory introduced by an American anthropologist Oscar Lewis), irrespective of class or economic strata, lives in pavement or apartment. Nobody is at all ashamed of the deep-rooted corruption, decaying general quality of life, worst Politico-administrative system, weak mother language, continuous absorption of common space (mental as well as physical, both). We are becoming fathers & mothers only by self-procreation, mindlessly & blindfold. Simply depriving their(the children) fundamental rights of a decent, caring society, fearless & dignified living. Do not ever look for any other positive alternative behaviour (values) to perform human way of parenthood, i.e. deliberately co-parenting of those children those are born out of ignorance, real poverty. All of us are being driven only by the very animal instinct. If the Bengali people ever be able to bring that genuine freedom (from vicious cycle of 'poverty') in their own life/attitude, involve themselves in 'Production of Space’(Henri Lefebvre), at least initiate a movement by heart, decent & dedicated Politics will definitely come up.

      - Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 16/4, Girish Banerjee Lane, Howrah-711101.

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      lex123 7 years ago

      Only very few people like you write about the good side of some one. Many people won't bother to bring out the goodness in people. I'm glad you did it. I wish there were more people like you.

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      legendindia 7 years ago

      Nice and true story of rickshaw wala. I know Honesty is the best policy. It is a true story of a poor rishaw - wala.There are several person in India who are honest. It is true that this time corruption has increased in India. It is a type of virus which is doing empty to India.

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      Kirit Kapadia 7 years ago

      It is a heart-warming incident. Many believe in altruism. Some use external yardsticks to measure their worth and seek rewards and awards. While others use internal yardsticks and are fully convinced of their worth and seek no rewards or awards.

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      babubhai desai 7 years ago

      We have to report such cases which means the society is totally dishonest. In an ideal society when the lost item is not found then it should be reported as news So this is a proof of corrupt mind of the society

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      7 years ago


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      Naresh Tanna 7 years ago

      Great story. On the flip side, I wonder how many customers like yourself would have initially blamed the Rikshawala instead of themselves for losing the device. We see this phenomenon all the time here in New York City with the taxi drivers and lost mobile phones. Thank you for sharing this wonderful example of honesty in society.

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      Harsha Badkar 7 years ago

      It absolutely important to recognise the existence of goodness aroud us in the society. And responsibility is solely on people like us, because media today is too busy spreading negativity by highlighting dishonesty and corruption.Youth of today should be told that the society and the government is marching towrds progress not because majority is corrupt, but because majority is still honest.And this fact needs to be publicised.


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      HARSHEEL.SONI 7 years ago

      Really nice story, and in other way one true and natural face of India, which is alive.

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      Dinesh Srivastava 7 years ago

      Good story. Hindi magazione 'Sarita' regulalrly publishes many such true stories every fortnight under the colum ' Jeevan ki muskan'.