By Asmat Shah
PESHAWAR, Jun 28 (APP):The relationship of bicycle with man is old since the times when man had nothing to ride on, bicycle was his only source of travelling.Late Pashto poet Syed Rasul Rasa had once versified the benefits of bicycle in his poem titled ‘Sykala Wafadara’ (My loyal cycle) that garnered such a widespread popularity that it was included in the Pashto syllabus from grade one to Pashto master level and Pakhtun readers still remember the couplets of the said poem.
Moreover, a bicycle can help one to lose weight as paddling bicycle helps us to experience a good exercise , also riding a bicycle causes no pollution, one can pick it up where there is a broken path.
In prevailing pandemic of corona when ban has been imposed on intercity transport, riding bicycle could be really a boon for villagers but the residents of the Kot Khadak a backward area of Gomal, are deprived of this wonderful and cheaper way of transport which neither needs fuel nor any other service.
The story goes on like this, bicycle found a bad day when a Jirga members of Kot Khadak village of Gomal area, some 30 kilometers towards the South of Tank on Wana road consisting of around 700 families were forced to impose a strict ban on bicycle ride way back in 1990 and it was not without a reason.
The story goes on like this; Haji Kifayat Ullah, an eye witness of the jirga which
announced the verdict regarding ban on riding bicycle, narrated that young students of the village Narsej and Sagai used to ride bicycles to reach to their High School located some six kilometers away in Gomal Bazar and Kot Hakim.While the female folk of the village both young and old had to fetch water from a distant place by carrying pitchers on their heads and walked for several miles. Haji Kifayat recalled that several groups of young boys riding bicycles used the same route and frequently had a collision with women carrying water filled pitchers.The accident also caused an altercation between students and women who became infuriated over wastage of their hard work of carrying water from such a long distance.
Haji Kifayat Ullah went on to say that bicycle riding soon became a great hurdle in the way of smooth foot travel for women and at times would result in serious scuffles which sometimes led to breach of family honour.Daily arguments between womenfolk and youngsters of the area forced elders to sit and find out a permanent solution to the issue which has become a headache for them.“To resolve the issue forever, the village Jirga found out an easy way by issuing a verdict that from the Chagpul (high bridge) (starting point to the end point Wanduna pul (stream bridge) of the village nobody would be allowed to ride bicycle and will cover around 25 minutes distance by foot,”.Since the issuance of the verdict, no person whether a villager or stranger could dare to ride bicycle in the area.
Now after passage of around 30 years when the verdict was announced and all the Jirga members have passed away, ban on bicycle riding in the area is still fully intact and no one can pass from the area while on bicycle, Kifayat Ullah apprised APP.Irfan Miani, a 27- year old young boy of the area, told APP that he was riding bicycle in 2002 that some children and aged persons shouted at him to disembark from bicycle and he covered the area by foot.
Surprisingly enough, people of the same village could use motorbikes as the ban is only for use of bicycles and not on bikes.Youngsters even resort to rash driving and one wheeling causing casualties, but no one bothers to stop them from using motorbikes by taking advantage of the ban on bicycles.According to a rough estimate, around 28 innocent lives have been lost owing to accidents of motorbikes in the same area during Eid-ul-Fitr in Dera Ismail Khan Division.
Residents of the village were of the view that a ban on bicycle riding should be lifted because tube-wells have been installed in the area supplying water at homes through taps and women no longer use to walk on foot.Instead village people should be allowed to use bicycles both old and young as even well off preferred this cheaper source of transportation for various reasons.”It can help one to lose weight as paddling bicycle helps us to experience a good exercise , also riding a bicycle causes no pollution, one can pick it up where there is a broken path,” a teacher Kher Muhammad, at Kot Khadak village advised.