Essay on The Indian Coolie
A coolie is a man who carries load and luggage of other people from one place to another. He gets a small amount for his work. The amount depends upon the weight of load, the distance and the conditions of time and place. Here we are considering a railway coolie. His work is to carry load on platform. He is a common figure. We can see him at any good railway station.
The railway coolie wears a particular dress. He puts on a red shirt and a yellow turban. He ties a brass plate on his arm. On this, we can see his licence number. No coolie can work at a station without a licence.
He has to work very hard. He knows no holiday. He is always present at the railway station. With other coolies he waits for the arrival of a train. Then he runs to a compartment. If somebody wants him, he stops there. He can take his luggage to any place. Sometimes he takes very heavy loads. This hard work goes on from day to day. He cannot take rest. He cannot go anywhere for recreation. If he does not work, he cannot get money. In that case, he will not be able to support his family. So he works all the twenty-four hours. He does not care for bad weather. He does not and cannot leave his work.
In the city markets there is a great competition between coolies. Two or three coolies will run to you if you want their services. They are very cheap. They carry heavy loads on their heads or backs. They are eager to get work of any kind. Their income is uncertain.
At the railway station, the coolies are seen sitting at the entrance of the bridge or the platform. They have their turns by mutual settlement. So, when a tonga or rickshaw or car comes they get work. The coolie at the station does not settle his wages with the respectable people.
If the passenger is old, poor and ignorant, he settles wages and demands a big amount. When the passenger is in haste to catch the train or reach home, he or she often agrees to pay the unreasonable amount. If the wages have not been settled the coolie is sure to create a scene. However much you may pay him, he is never satisfied. In spite of all rules fixed for his wages, he tries to gain more and more. The railway coolie is very helpful. He can do any service for you. He never says 'No'. He can arrange a seat for you. He can make your bed on it. He can bring food or tea for you. He can look after your luggage on the platform. Generally he is very honest. If you have money to spend you can hire any service. Money makes the mare go. Every service is possible through reasonable money expenditure. The railway coolie generally behaves well with the passengers. He only wants money for the work he does.
The service of railway coolie is very useful. We need his services. We are in habit of these services in India. We cannot do without their services.