Do autorickshaw drivers deserve any sympathy?

SUDHEENDRA MURALIDHARA has a hobby: cellphone photography. Not just narcissistic frames of himself and his friends and family, but everyday scenes he observes here and there.

Here, he forwards a picture of an ingenious “steering lock” employed by many autorickshaw drivers in big cities like Bangalore and Mysore. Obviously, a “responsible” rickshaw owner should do everything to protect his possession, his family’s source of anna-sambaar; obviously, not all drivers are cheats.

Still, the reputation of the men in khaki (half-sleeves) is at such a nadir—for their disdain for traffic rules, for clogging up the streets, for screwing up the air with noise and noxious fumes, for their contempt for the lives and limbs of others, and not least for their fares—that Sudheendra writes: “It left me wondering if the papa pragne of the auto driver, for having cheated so many passengers with his tampered meter, made him use a chain to protect his autorickshaw.”