Transport in Ghana now has so many alternatives. You do not only have to board a taxi or ‘trotro’ if you want to go somewhere. You have the option of Okada (motorbike) or the recent tricycle vehicles we popularly refer to as ‘Pragya’. The ‘pragya’ is one of the most recent modes of transport to hit Ghana’s roads. It gained popularity under the administration of the former president, John Dramani Mahama. It was shared to some parts of the northern region in 2015 as alternative transport modes and to serve the places which had no vehicles to cater for their transportation needs. It later spread to other parts of the country. But because its popularity came under the time of the former president, and because it looked somewhat like a ‘camboo’, it was normally referred to as ‘Mahama Camboo’.
If you’re also a fan of Asian movies, specifically Indian movies, you may have seen that this is one of their most popular modes of transport. A popular Indian tv series hit the screens of Ghana in about 2012 or 2013 thereabouts, and it was called “Kunkum Bhagya”. Undoubtedly, this was a tv series that captured each and every Ghanaian’s attention. People would rush home wherever they are to go and watch this tv show. What was special about it was the fact that it was in our local language, Twi. Among the characters in this movie were the famous Abhi the Rockstar and his wife, Pragya. The movie was basically about their love. Because the actress, Pragya, became such a sensation to Ghanaians, she was quickly identified with this tricycle, which was obviously from her tradition. And the tricycle has from that time onwards been referred to as Pragya.
But it’s real name is neither Pragya it Mahama Camboo. The real name of this tricycle is an Auto Rickshaw. Calling it a tricycle is not wrong because it has there wheels. But the word tricycle is just a general term for any vehicle with three wheels. To be specific, this vehicle is called an Auto Rickshaw. Having told you this, let’s look at why it is hackles an auto rickshaw. What is the history behind the name?
The rickshaw is a Japanese vehicle. Its name in Japan means ‘human powered vehicle’. And this is what a rickshaw was. If you’re a fan of Japanese and Indian movies, you might have come across it. You’ll see people pulling a carriage with people sitting in it, as shown above. This, originally, is what we call a rickshaw. But over the years, changes occurred. People could not keep using their strength to pull others. It was too much work. So they replaced the handle the driver would have pulled, with a seat and a wheel.
This is when it became a tricycle. It now had three wheels and was peddled by a driver. It was then called a cycle rickshaw. Further advancement and changes made it possible to insert a motor and an engine and auto parts to make it similar to a car (automobile). This is when it was referred to as an auto rickshaw, because of the automobile parts in it.