“A Three Wheeled Revolution” is an inspiring documentary that chronicles the rise of electric tricycles as a sustainable and accessible mode of transportation in urban areas. Through compelling storytelling and interviews with industry pioneers, the film sheds light on how these innovative vehicles are reshaping the future of mobility. Read More Class 12 English Summaries.
A Three Wheeled Revolution Summary
“I am a simple human being but a big dreamer. I come from rural India and I am passionate about entrepreneurship. I love ideas and innovation. I was enterprising since my childhood.”
A Three Wheeled Revolution Interviewer
Congratulations on your achievement When and how did you conceive this idea?
Irfan Alam: I was 17 at that time. I was travelling in a rickshaw and in the middle of the journey I was very thirsty.
I asked the rickshaw puller if he had any water. He said he did not have because it was expensive to get bottles of water and stack them. Immediately I thought there was a market for selling water bottles in the rickshaws. The very next day I talked to 5 rickshaw pullers and gave them 8 bottles of water each. I told them the profit would be split between them and me. For each bottle the profit would be Rs. 2. The very first day I got 8 rupees.
I: You were very young when you came up with and executed this idea.
IA: Yes. I think entrepreneurship is in my blood. I had an interest in business from a very early age. During the stock market scam in 1992, my father and many of his friends lost a lot of money. That was when I took interest in the stock market and started researching various companies.
Using my advice, all of my father’s friends recovered their losses. Many of them made profits. This enabled me to start my first portfolio management firm at the age of 13. When my parents found that I was dabbling in the rickshaw sector as well, they asked me to stop doing it and concentrate on my studies. But my interest never went away. I kept reading and researching about this sector all through my college days in Pondichery where I pursued my Master’s of Foreign Trade degree.
I: What was the spark that revived this idea?
In 2006, an Indian TV show called Business Baazigar began an entrepreneur hunt and solicited ideas for new businesses. I entered this contest with a proposal. My idea was to organize the rickshaw sector and make it a profitable venture. I suggested that rickshaws should be redesigned so that the spaces on the vehicles could be sold for advertising and brand promotion. I also suggested that additional incomes could be got by selling water, juice, biscuits, mobile cards and newspapers to the passengers. I won the show and was offered the seed money of Rs. 150 lakhs.
I: Was SammaaN started with this seed money?
IA: No. I realized that the entry barrier to this business was very low. The only way to sustain this business was to get the loyalty of the rickshaw pullers. I wanted to provide them with insurance, ID-cards and uniforms. I wanted to run it as a ‘not-for-profit’ organization. At that time I did not think about any social entrepreneurship. I thought it to be the best way to sustain the business and the easiest way to get banks to give out loans. Since the organizers of the TV show did not agree to this model, I refused to take the seed capital.
IA: As I learned more about the rickshaw pullers, their lives and their sorrowful condition, it became a social cause. There are some 10 million rickshaws operating in India. Most of the rickshaw pullers don’t own their rickshaws. They take them on rent for about 30 to 40 rupees a day. What they get after paying the rent is hardly enough to maintain their families. They continue at the bottom of the society. I wanted to create an organization that could empower the rickshaw pullers and find a way to increase their incomes. It would be a win-win situation for both. I believe in C.K. Prahlada’s idea that businesses can be successful by targeting the bottom of the pyramid. SammaaN was founded in 2007 with seed money from family and friends.
I: Can you describe the operation model of SammaaN?
When a rickshaw puller approaches SammaaN, a verification process is done. The rickshaw puller is then given training on basic etiquette and traffic rules. Then we help him to get a bank loan for a new rickshaw. In the past banks were reluctant to give loans to this section of people. Now they give because we stand as guarantors. The rickshaw pullers feel empowered because they are pulling their own rickshaws. We also give them accidental and health insurance. Each driver is given an ID card. He has to wear uniform while operating the vehicle. The rickshaw puller now becomes a member of the SammaaN family.
I: How does SammaaN help increase the revenues of the rickshaw pullers? How does SammaaN get its revenues?
SammaaN rickshaws are designed to have plenty of space to display advertisements. Several local and national brands advertise here. The income from advertisement is shared between the rickshaw pullers and the SammaaN. Rickshaw pullers can choose to sell water, fruit juice, pre-paid cards, mobile phones etc. They come to a central rickshaw yard in the morning and load up what they want. At the end of the day the profit is shared between them and SammaaN. The money they get from the passengers is theirs. The incomes of the rickshaw pullers have increased 30 to 40%.
There are other benefits also for which we cannot put any monetary value. Rickshaw pullers now have a sense of belonging and empowerment. Their wives and children attend free evening classes called Sammaan Gyaan. SammaaN has brought dignity to those previously known as menial labourers. SammaaN is profitable. Last fiscal year, it made a profit of 8 lakhs. My mentors emphasize the importance of sustainability.
I: Does SammaaN get directly involved in micro-financing?
No. We just enable the rickshaw pullers to get finance from the banks. Now they pay only the bank loan as installment and eventually become the owners of the rickshaw.
I: Aren’t cycle rickshaws a dying breed?
Rickshaws are still popular in many parts of the country. In the last 2 to 3 years the number of rickshaws has actually increased in New Delhi by 20%. It is a popular transport to and from the metro stations. I think rickshaws are the vehicles of the future as they are environmental friendly. We have an R&D wing working on a solar- powered fiberglass rickshaw.
I: What were your experiences at the Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit at the USA?
IA: I met some truly great people. I talked to the Nobel Prize Winner Mohammed Yunus. He invited me to Bangladesh to help set up a similar organization for the rickshaw workers there.
I: What is your advice to students on.entrepreneurship? OBRI:
An entrepreneur is one who sees an opportunity and puts conscious efforts to make it an enterprise. People discourage youths from taking this path. It is time that we think of entrepreneurship as a career. It can tackle unemployment in the country. It is important to dream but one has to take calculated risks to achieve your dream.
I: Thank you very much. We wish you the very best for your unique journey.
(Interview given to Sujata Ramprasad for India Cunents in May 2010, after participating in the Entrepreneurship Summit in Washington.)
About Irfan Alam : He is the founder and chairman of SammaaN Foundation. It is an Indian company which organizes rickshaw pulling sector in Bihar. Samman means respect. He is first to introduce pre-paid cycle.
In its conclusion, “Three Wheeled Revolution Summary Pdf” in leaves viewers with a hopeful vision of a greener and more inclusive urban landscape, where electric tricycles play a pivotal role in reducing emissions and enhancing mobility for all. A three wheeled revolution summary in English film serves as a testament to the transformative potential of sustainable transportation solutions in creating a better, cleaner world for future generations.