Tanga (also written as Tonga) might have been phased out but certain places still use it for short commute travels. It is still as a mode of transport in Anantnag.
Gulam Mohidin Dar, 65, from the main town heads the Tanga Association in Mattan Adda. Once a 150-member association, it is reduced to now 20 Tanga’s. He said he earns Rs 4-500 a day and part of it goes to fund the fodder for his horse.
Mohidin is not dissatisfied with his earnings. His worries are different. “Earlier if there were less earning there were fewer expenses,” he said. “But I am thankful to Allah that I still earn.”
THREE BUSES IN SOUTH
Fed on memories of his father and grandfather, Ghulam Hassan Wagay has been running his Tanga for almost half a century. He knows the stories of the British marriages and the Bollywood shooting involving the Tangas. “Then, the entire Anantnag district had three buses,” Wagay said. “We were like a taxi service. We would be called during nights to manage health emergencies.”
Kashmir’s transport story has been interesting. For most of its history, it was the river. Then people used to have their personal horses and ponies for the load. Towards the latter part of the nineteenth century came the horse-driven carriages, called the Tanga. It was the time when Kashmir had like Kolkatta man-driven carts. It was the abundance of those human-driven Tangas (in which man was put in place of a horse) that history has recorded that in Kashmir manpower sells at half of the horsepower.
Once a Royal Ride, Tanga gradually became public transport. They would manage everything from Bollywood shooting to the movement of the bureaucracy. Even now, a high-end hotel in Srinagar owns a luxury Tanga.
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