MINGORA, June 16: The Tonga riding culture, which had disappeared in Swat district, has been reviving in the area.
A Tonga driver of Qambar area, Mr Hanifa, says that his father and grandfather also used to ride Tongas. But during the last 30 years, the Suzuki pickups and rickshaws have replaced the Tonga driving. However, now people want to travel in Tongas once again.
He told TNN, “Tonga driving is not a profitable job but I ride it as I like it. People want to travel in Tongas as they enjoy travelling in it. I earn more or less 350 rupees a day.”
A resident, Mr Zahoor, who frequently commutes in the Tongas, said, “I am travelling from Qambar area till Mingora city. Whenever someone travels in Tonga, he or she recalls old memories; that is why people enjoy it. I think commuters should use Tonga travel because it costs lesser.”
A Tanga or Tonga is a light horse-drawn carriage used for transportation in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Tangas are a popular mode of transportation because they are fun to ride in, and are usually cheaper to hire than a taxicab or rickshaw. However, in many cities, Tangas are not allowed to use highways because of their slow pace.
In Pakistan, tangas are mainly found in the older parts of cities and towns, and have become less popular for utilitarian travel and more popular for pleasure.
The modern modes of transport has also affected the Tonga drivers and those associated with the business of making carts for Tangas.
“I used to earn much in the past, as more people would travel in Tangas, particularly in rural areas. But now most of my previous customers, ie Tanga drivers, have opted for taxicabs and rickshaws even in rural areas. Few people are now driving Tongas,” said Abdullah, a Tonga maker in the suburbs of the provincial capital Peshawar.