BENGALURU: For the benefit of bored commuters stuck in Bengaluru traffic, an auto driver has turned his vehicle into a mobile encyclopedia of sorts.
Abdul Khadir, a Class 4 dropout and a resident of Ulsoor, hopes to inform his passengers about our country’s history.
Posters displaying the list of Indian Prime Ministers, famous women personalities, government holidays and information related to our struggle for Independence are stuck to the walls of the autorickshaw.
For younger passengers, Khadir has charts displaying moral stories like The Thirsty Crow, alphabets, numeric system, animals and birds. Apart from that, he also plays nursery rhymes upon request.
Every year, Khadir displays the timetable of Class 10 and PU board exams for the benefit of students.
A first-aid box is also prominently placed. Every auto driver must carry one, Khadir feels.
The 54-year-old runs with a different social issue-based theme every month. So far, he has covered tobacco and alcohol addiction and the evils of the dowry system.
At present, a poster bearing a picture of bikers who lost their lives while performing stunts on the road is on display.
Next month’s theme will be about hospitals neglecting patients while focusing on minting money. Tears roll out of Khadir’s eyes as he tells us about losing one of his family members to such apathy.
“I want to inform commuters about things that matter. The 20 to 30 minutes they spend in my vehicle should bring a small change in their lives,” Khadir says.
Passengers are treated with music depending on their mood. “I have music of many genres. I try to detect the way they’re feeling and play songs accordingly,” he says.
Khadir has often surprised people with birthday and anniversary songs.
The auto driver calls himself ‘a die-hard fan of Dharmendra’. He claims to have watched all his movies and also recalls meeting the star during the filming of Sholay in Ramanagaram. “Dharmendra gave me a Rs 10-note that I have preserved to this date,” Khadir says.
Inspired by the actor, he thought of doing something for the society.
Khadir has worked with Saudi Arabian Airlines as a maintenance staff and has been rewarded for returning gold ornaments and other valuables passengers left in the plane. As an autodriver too, he has returned bags and cash to citizens, he claims.
Khadir fondly recalls ferrying some great personalities like former Prime Minister H D Devegowda and film stars Vishnuvardhan, Leelavathi and Jayanthi.
Impressed by Khadir’s attempts, some people pay him extra but he refuses. If they insist, he uses the money to upgrade the auto with more informative posters.
Khadir earns Rs 400 a day on average and spends most of it buying posters and making the display better. He also has plans of installing a small television to screen movies for his passengers.