HUMAN RICKSHAW 2010, PERFORMANCE
A tourist pays a human rickshaw driver to ferry him around Chaplin Square, central Kolkata. He films the man from the comfort of his seat. When they return to the start, the tourist and driver switch place and the journey begins again.
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A human rickshaw is a mode of transport in which a runner pulls passengers in a two-wheeled cart. Introduced to India during Britain's colonial Raj, this is the practice of human beings pulling human beings. Despite a ban being placed on the profession in 2006, the human rickshaw is still a common mode of transport in Kolkata. Throughout the city, members of India's lowest caste pull middle-class residents through the streets. By night, the pullers sleep beneath their rickshaws.
There are four principal castes in India. And a fifth which fall outside the caste syste: the Dalits. Meaning 'oppressed', Dalit is the self-chosen political name of peoples which the caste system considers untouchable. The term has been adopted by disadvantaged communities who are excluded from society. According to the 2011 census, the Dalits make up 25% of India's population.