The Porter’s Burden

Bearing loads on the back the way his ancestors did fifteen thousand years ago, the Nepali porter carries an evolutionary legacy as well as a modern-day burden. Treating his condition would also cure the socio-economic ills of Nepal's hill peasantry.

Three ragged labourers, hailing from the hills of far-west Nepal, haul a drum full of truck diesel up from the Lakadi Bazaar depot in Shimla. On the 15 km trail up from the Gaurikund bus stop in Garhwal, a Nepali 'kandiwala' carries his 2000th pilgrim up to Gaumukh, where the Ganga has her source. He earns ninety rupees for the effort. On the Lamjura Pass, the high point on the trail to Khumbu in east Nepal, a 44-year-old Rai man is in the middle of a ten-day haul, with a load that is more than twice his own weight.

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Himal Southasian