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From South to North: Youth set on foot to build honest India

www.dnaindia.com | February 20, 2012

A team of nine undertake a journey to convey the message of honesty among fellow citizens.

A group of nine students, who call themselves ‘Proud Indians’, are walking from Kanyakumari to Delhi to convey the message of personal honesty to fellow citizens as part of their fight against corruption. They reached Pune on February 12 while on their way to Mumbai.

Starting from Kanyakumari on December 18 and covering a journey of more than 5,500 km, they intend to reach Delhi before April 7 and celebrate ‘Zero Corruption Day’ on April 8.

The team that reached Pune, included Abdul Mujeeb Khan (team coordinator), Vivek Reddy, Jawad Ali, Faiz Rai, Umair Hasan, Anoop Shekar, Madhav Rao, Zia Ali and Raju.

Speaking about the initiative Khan said, “The significance of the walk is to interact with citizens in villages and small districts where we can find victims of corruption. We will walk and talk to them about the difficulties and challenges that they are facing and how corruption is affecting their lives.”

He said that their idea of celebrating ‘Zero Corruption Day’ is to encourage people of India to live honestly at least for one day. The ‘Proud Indians’ have completed two months of their campaign, from Kanyakumari to Pune.

They have divided their team into two; one team is heading straight to Delhi through villages, districts and towns while the other is travelling through major cities.

They are organising awareness walks and trying to reach out to different mediums in order to convey their message to a large number of people.

They have walked more than 1,350 km through Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in over 30 days and have met over 25,000 people on their journey on foot so far.

“We request every individual we meet to commit to the idea of personal honesty. Our mission is to build an honest India which is only possible if each and every citizen becomes honest,” said Reddy.

From Hyderabad, the team took the Nagpur route and came to Pune. They were welcomed in the city by the volunteers of India Against Corruption.

They also visited the FLAME campus at Lavale and interacted with the student community. They walked through city streets, touching prominent locations and interacted with people to spread their message,

Talking about their experiences in Maharashtra, Khan said, “On the state borders, there is a stark difference in terms of the landscape, but not in terms of people. We found a large presence of Naxals and security forces in Gadchiroli district. Despite all the turbulence, acts of commitment towards a better future are evident with hospitals and ashrams like that of Baba Amte and Abhay Bhang.”

The walking team reached Mumbai on February 17 after a two-day stay in Pune. They will be staying in Mumbai till February 26 before they move on. Talking from Mumbai, Khan said, “Mumbai presents a different picture and different challenge to us. It is becoming increasingly difficult to engage people and tell them about our goal as they are too caught up in their lives. We have been through tough terrains but getting an audience here in Mumbai is much tougher.”