Last of country’s car porters dies

  • end of a generation
Dhan Bahadur Gole, who earned the sobriquet ‘Gadi Bokne Budha’, was among those ‘sturdy’ men recruited for carrying cars through the rough terrains to the Capital in the 1930s, long before the country built its first highway

Jan 13, 2016-Dhan Bahadur Gole, the last of Nepal’s car carrying porters, died in a hospital in Kathmandu on Monday. He was 92.

Gole, who earned the sobriquet “Gadi Bokne Budha” (car carrying old man) in his village in Chitlang of Makawanpur, was among those 60 plus “sturdy people selected” by then Rana rulers to carry cars through the rough terrains in the 1930s, long before the country built its first highway in 1956. Tribhuvan Highway was constructed in 1956. Only Kathmandu at that time had paved roads, and the only way to get to Kathmandu then was on foot or to fly. 

“He (Gole) was the only survivor among the porters who carried cars to Kathmandu,” said Babukaji Manandhar, an octogenarian from Chitlang. 

Talking to the Post a few months ago, Gole had said that over the next few years since he was first recruited by “a head porter” for the job, he, along with other porters, ferried around 30 vehicles to the Capital. “I would wear thick slippers made up of straw so that I could maintain my foot grip on the rough terrain,” he had told the Post. “I was 20-21 when I got my first assignment as a car carrier.” 

Gole and other porters used to tie logs together to build a bamboo framework, and they would hoist the “consignment” on their shoulders and walk. It used to take 7-12 days to reach Thankot, the entry point for Kathmandu, from Bhimphedi with their cargo.

Besides working as a porter, he also used to weave bamboo baskets to eke out a living. 

Gole, who was staying with his granddaughter at Bhandarkharka in Chitlang-1, was suffering from asthma for the past few years and was admitted to Nepal-Bharat Maitri Hospital in Kathmandu four days ago.

Gole’s last rites were performed in Chitlang on Tuesday. Gole’s death marks the end of a generation that carried vehicles through the rugged terrains via Bhimphedi-Kulekhani-Markhu-Chitlang-Chandragiri route to Kathmandu. Gole is survived by two sons and a daughter. 

Published: 13-01-2016 08:41

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