The cart of the matter

ANIMAL drawn carts are an integral part of rural India. If you compare weight and distance ratio within a village, bullock carts are perhaps the most efficient modes of transport. No study, however, has been done to calculate the energy efficiency of this popular mode of transport.

On the other hand, animal right's organisations have often targeted the design of these carts as harmful to the animals, quoting factors that promote stress. Despite such bucolic warring, R Jain of Suryadaya, Jaipur, is convinced of the energy efficiency of carts. Over the years, he has used his imagination and carpentry skills to document various animal-drawn cart models in the country. He has crafted more than 100 cart miniatures, perfect to the minutest detail.

A part of this collection was exhibited at the recently held Handicrafts Fair in Delhi. Says Jain, "These carts are an integral part of rural life in India and they will remain so in spite of the modernisation of transport systems. Farmers will continue to design their own carts catering to their specific needs."