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Where Have All The City’s Sikh Cabbies Gone?

Discussion in 'Business, Lifestyle & Leisure' started by spnadmin, Nov 2, 2009.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Jun 17, 2004
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    Where have all the city’s Sikh cabbies gone?

    Aarefa Johari, Hindustan Times
    Email Author
    Mumbai, November 02, 2009
    First Published: 01:05 IST(2/11/2009)
    Last Updated: 01:06 IST(2/11/2009)

    About a couple of decades ago, hailing a taxi on Guru Nanak Jayanti would not have been easy. Back then, a major chunk of the taxi driver population comprised Sikhs.

    Today, although the number of taxis plying the city’s streets has increased manifold, finding a turban-sporting taxi driver has become a rarity.

    “Over the past 25 years, the number of Sikhs in the field has fallen from 30-40 per cent to a mere 10 per cent,” said Bombay Taximen’s Union President A.L. Quadros.

    In the years after Partition, taxi driving was a prime occupation for the many Sikhs who came down from Punjab to earn a living.

    They grew to become the public’s favourite, earning the reputation of being the most trustworthy of the lot.

    Drivers are now predominantly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
    “People trusted us because of our hard work, even women would

    feel safe in our cabs at late hours, but these days there is no place for honesty,” said Jagtar Singh Gill (78), who plied his taxi for 30 years before getting into the transport business, the preferred option for most Sikhs who quit taxi driving.

    To Gill, it is no surprise that Sikhs don’t want to drive cabs anymore. “The days when we were treated as valuable public servants are gone,” he said.

    His son, Iqbal Singh, a fourth generation cab driver in the family who also left the profession, does not want his children to get into the field.

    Ditto with taxi driver Surjit Singh, who has got his children admitted to an English medium school and wants them to take up service.

    “Sikh drivers have always been educated, and they are still considered trustworthy,” said the 40-year-old. “But now the public no longer has any respect for the profession.”

    The way things are going, we may not be able to hail a ‘Sardarji’ cab anymore.

    Forwarded by forum member Tejwant Singh ji Malik :)
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  3. harbansj24

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    Feb 19, 2007
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    In Calcutta just upto 10 to 15 years back 100% cabbies were Sikhs and all speaking authentic Bengali. And Bengalis staying outside Bengal would excitedly talk about them praising their politeness and sincerity. Now the number is down to may be 10%.

    But I understand that the number of Sikh cabbies has gone up in New York, Washington, Sydney Melbourne etc
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  4. kds1980

    kds1980 India
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    Apr 4, 2005
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    One of the other reason that there are No sikh cab drivers is That Taxi business is no more Lucrative anymore.Earlier Cab Drivers and owners used to make lots of money but not now
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  5. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
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    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Thinker

    Jul 4, 2004
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    More IMPORTANTLY..SIKH CABS and TRUCKS were specifically TARGETED by the Rioting MOBS in 1984. There are no reliable figures of how many were BURNT inside their taxis/trucks.....THIS is also a Major reason....in a "staged riot"..the Taxis get lots of attention from mobs...

    2. The Up Baiyahs are spreading like wildfire everywhere...have you seen a sardar driivng a taxi in PUNJAB towns..i didnt see a single sardar in Chandigarh....all the three wheelers were biharees and bahiyahs.. Everytime i wanted to go to a Gurdwara they would take me to a Mandir..and then say..sabh ek hee to hai...:confused::confused::confused::confused:
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  6. AusDesi

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    Jul 18, 2009
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    Money is the primary reason plus the fact that Sikhs are immigrating out in large numbers. I think Sikh community has moved on in terms of work they do. The older generation might have driven taxis but the newer generation might see it as low work.

    Sydney is full of Sikh drivers. My mate named them "Tipjis" and the name has stuck for my group at least. It comes from a story my mate told us where he took a taxi from the city in a very drunk state. He's of Sikh background but thats ony really evident from the Kara otherwise he could be Lebanese. After seeing his Kara while paying the taxi driver, the taxi driver says "Tip Ji!!!", my mate burst out laughing and paid him 10 dollars extra. Since that day the name has stuck. I must say though even the name "Khatron Ke Khiladi" will suit them. They are the most dangerous drivers in Sydney bar Lebanese.

    Many of them are actually well educated but the Australian govt does not recognise their studies so they have to drive taxis etc to make a living.
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