Asia Pacific Forum(NYC) features segment on "Men of Burden - Pedaling
Towards a Horizon" a documentary film on cycle rickshaws in India, on their
weekly Radio Show on Tuesday, June 19th 2007, broadcast between 8-9 p.m.
The segment will be the second in the show at around 8:15 p.m.
The segment will be part of a newly launched series on the environment and
developing economies- this segment focuses on the struggles of an India
where middle/upper class desires for technology and cars and where cycle
rickshaws represent an environmental blessing- and livelihood for
thousands of cycle rickshaw workers- though also respecting the
hardship/manual labor of rickshaw drivers.
ABOUT THE ASIA PACIFIC FORUM
Asia Pacific Forum is the progressive pan-Asian radio show broadcast every
Tuesday night from 8-9pm on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City and live on the
We particularly like to profile stories and perspectives which are
under-represented in mainstream media- and which we believe deserve
attention and dialogue.
For excerpts of past shows, please check out our website: Asia Pacific Forum
We cover underreported stories from Asia, as well as Asian American
politics and culture. Our guests have included Arundhati Roy, Gary Locke,
Jessica Hagedorn, Tariq Ali, Yuri Kochiyama, David Henry Hwang,
Monique Truong, Edward Said, Maxine Hong Kingston, Vijay Prashad,
Cathi Tactaquin, Zia Mian, Grace Lee Boggs, Vivek Bald, Phil Tajitsu
Nash, Bharavi Desai, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Monami Maulik, Margaret
Fung, Robin D.G. Kelley, Shashi Tharoor, Joo-Hyun Kang, Mike Honda,
Vandana Shiva, John Liu, Stacey Ann Chin, Jeff Chang, DJ Rekha,
and Asian Dub Foundation.
Asia Pacific Forum airs on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York City. WBAI is part of
the Pacifica Foundation, a national radio network founded in 1946 with
additional affiliates in Houston, Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Washington,
D.C. Pacifica is a non-commercial, listener-sponsored network founded on a
strong community role in each individual station.
SYNOPSIS OF THE FILM
Set in the city of Pondicherry, a Union Territory in South East India, the
documentary uncovers the story of disappearing cycle rickshaw drivers
living in abject poverty. Over time, the city has experienced a gradual
but alarming reduction in the number of cycle rickshaws thereby
diminishing the chances of living of those who depend on them. What used
to be one of the primary modes of transport in the city is now a fading
memory with the few remaining ones staging a difficult survival. The film
explores some of the ethical dimensions of man pulling man against the
background of increasingly menacing effects of motorized transport and
pollution. It also takes you through the rickshaw men’s journey of hope on
the roads that have fostered them.
Representing one facet of India’s population below poverty line, these
unflagging men perpetually struggle to eat one satisfying meal a day. But
what is remarkable is the essence of some who believe in making a
difference in an apparently hopeless livelihood. While India's big cities
are racing towards globalization and technology, these men, against all
odds, remain appreciative of their modest lives by believing in the power
Portraying the immediacy and desolation of the situation the film
highlights a catalytic change revolutionizing India’s economic and social
future from the grass roots level. Juxtaposing the way of life of these
men with definitive solutions, the film answers the question of how these
changes can trickle down to the roots of India’s soil.