rohan chakravarty © 2017
Tipu Sultan once revered ruler, whose kingdom stretched across most of South India. Today "The Tiger of Mysore's" own flesh and blood are pulling rickshaws on Calcutta's streets to survive.
At the crack of dawn, a man leaves his palace, not to parade around his royal garden but to serve a concrete jungle.
Sanwar Shah, descendant of Tipu Sultan, begins his humble day making fares by pulling people on his rickshaw. Through the eight to nine hours of labour he and his brother bring back roughly about 250 Rupees. That is about a $1 an hour.
Their family land is now apart of the Waqf Estate. A trust for the Royal Family , but Bengal's sad politics denies them their benefits.
Sanwar and his brother's do not like to sit and make money by spelling out their name. Honour and pride are core to their hard earned bread and butter. Rather than spending time and money in court trying to claim what is rightfully theirs, they have smaller, more humble goals. Earning enough so as to afford their daughters "dowry" and ensure that their children go to school and get enough to eat is a high on their list of priorities.
Another brother of Sanwar, Shahid Alam, has a different approach. He believes that with time and sweat their family can hopefully claim their stake. Being well educated from a law background he spends a lot of his time in court and behind paperwork to try and set things straight for the rest of his family.
Only time will tell if this story has a fairy tale ending.