Karachi’s Tireless Labourers

I’ve written before about those at the lower ebb of Karachi’s working class and how growing inflation, lack of proper employment opportunities and general all round disparity between rich and poor forces these people into relatively low-paying, extremely demanding, labor intensive jobs. Their tireless work though rarely appreciated nevertheless plays a very significant role in our every day lives. TheShorterStory‘s impressive collection of photos over at Flickr captures this essence quite poignantly.

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It can be easy to take these guys for granted. A family member who recently returned to Pakistan after spending 3 years abroad couldn’t have been more delighted to go back to his regular naai upon returning after having got used to pay $10+ per hair cut over in the US during his stay. And while newspaper vendors may not always have such a direct impact on our every day lives that shouldn’t stop one from admiring their hard work as well.

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While most of us can’t have enough of complaining about traffic while we wile away the hours inside the comforts of our cars, these guys actually spend their entire day on the road, in the defeating heat and humidity. Yet they frequently appear more amiable in their countenance then we often do. They’ll come stand next to our car windows, and politely read aloud a catchy slogan. Most of the time we’re not interested, but we can’t be bothered enough to say that with anything like the same politeness they offer us their services. We shout, wave hands, some times even scream and swear while driving them away, and yet they rarely say things back in return (at least in my experiences with them, they’ve never done so), swiftly moving towards their next potential customer. May be its not surprising that they do have this level of patience, may be its the product of having a career as challenging as theirs.

It leaves me with a very weird feeling, the idea that some day in the future our city may have developed enough, progressed enough and become rich enough to have no more of these every-day labourers. There’s certainly no valid rational for me to feel this, for prosperity and growth to effect all kinds of citizens is exactly what should happen in progressive societies. But one can’t help but feel all the same, that without them, Karachi will not be the same city.

Images credit: TheShorterStory, all rights reserved, reproduced here with permission

See also: “The Bhuttay Wala” and “Entertainer”.

1 Comment so far

  1. Straight Talker (unregistered) on September 20th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

    Karachi is no longer a city of poor and lower middle class which is not fair :(



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