The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Women at Work

Posted on April 27, 2008
Filed Under >Nadeem Omar, History, Photo of the Day, Society, Women
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Nadeem Omar

Much like the last photograph in our series on the F.E. Chaudhry Collection, this photograph is also about women at work. But in a different way.

Women work Lahore rickshaw labor labour

This photograph, taken in Lahore probably in the 1960s, brings to light many Pakistani realities; some of which have changed, and some not.

Showing an elderly woman hauling a cycle rickshaw, boarded by a family of four, the photograph can be seen as the inhuman plight of an old women left to fend for herself. At the same time, it can speak for struggle of working women who can take to occupations generally associated with masculine strength, when the need arises, rather than being confined to domestic spaces to suffer in misery or beg on the streets.

The photograph also presents a forgotten image of Pakistani society, when it was not altogether uncommon for even working class women to ride or drive on the road. Contrary to the present, when its almost a taboo for women to ride a bicycle or motorcycle, a working class vehicle, forcing them to ride behind their men, this photograph clearly refutes the impression that our society in the past was less susceptible to gender equality. It makes one wonder how we came to lock ourselves in patriarchal prison, pushing half of our population off the public sphere.

Click here for the evolving F.E. Choudhry Gallery at ATP.


19 responses to “The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Women at Work”

  1. Afridi says:

    what a powerful photo

    Wish you could place a larger and higher RES version

  2. AtIF says:

    Dear Tina and Adnan. Can we please be spared of this to and from please. You have both had your say, now lets move on please!

  3. Tina says:

    Adnan, I do not understand what you are talking about.

    I am sure this woman has been dead for 40 years. So I am not sure what help anyone is supposed to be offering her.

    I think you are spoiling for a meaningless quarrel as per usual. You won’t be getting one from me. Have a good day.

  4. Tina, I read and and read it twice. Now the question is where all feminist activists have been hibernating and not coming out from their chilled drawing room sto help this “woman” to come out of this miserable life? or its just there is no media around hence they will not come out and help such elements?

  5. Tina says:

    Adnan–Mr. Qureshi did understand the sarcasm. What he didn’t get was why you used this post for an occasion to engage in yet another tired, whiny criticism of women’s rights concerns.

    I mean, did you even read the post? It said clearly that it’s better to work than to starve or turn to begging, but in today’s Pakistan women don’t even have the option of driving rickshaw to make money. With a high percentage of women and children in Pakistan showing signs of malnutrition it becomes literally a life or death issue. But women are forced to watch the hunger of their children in silence and helplessness.

    And that situation my friend, is the result of attitudes like yours…think it over please….

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