An environmentalist from Uttar Pradesh is on a year-long cycling tour of the country. His mission? To spread the message of a Swachh Bharat – a cleaner country. This is how he’s doing it.
Sixteen states, approximately 10,000 villages, and more than 14,300 kms — this sums up the journey of Abhishek Kumar Sharma so far. A 28-year-old environmental research scholar, Abhishek is currently on a year-long cycling tour of India. His reason for being on the road for the past ten months is indeed unique.
This Uttar Pradesh resident wants to spread the message of cleanliness, hygiene and sanitation among common citizens all over the country.
And since spreading awareness is not something that can be done from the comfort of one’s home, he is doing it from the ground level up.
|Abhishek Kumar Sharma|
“I saw that our Prime Minister has started such a big campaign. More than anything else, I look at the campaign as a very big opportunity for all of us to create a cleaner and better India,” says Abhishek, who started the cycle tour after being inspired by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
A post graduate in environmental science, Abhishek has about three years of work experience as a researcher in solid waste management. Armed with all the knowledge that he had gathered through his research work and education, Abhishek decided that he could use it to educate other people too, and make them more aware about the importance of and urgent need for a cleaner country. Thus, after quitting his job and failing to make his family understand why he wanted to do this, Abhishek set out on his journey on Nov. 10, 2014.
He calls it the ‘Uncertain Journey: Cycling across India for Change.’
The first step, even before the journey started, was to modify his bicycle. It is now equipped with an LED light, a poster with his name and phone number, an Indian flag, a flag that talks about his mission, a bottle carrier, and a carrier for his luggage. He started his journey from his hometown, Fategarh, in UP. After that he went on to cover the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, and Kerala. And now, Abhishek is in Tamil Nadu.
“I am trying to change the mindsets of people, because unless the mindsets are changed, we will not be able to make our country healthy. This is my moral responsibility for India and I am fulfilling it,” says the passionate young man. And for this purpose, he has decided to dedicate a year of his life to a campaign for Swachh Bharat, choosing a bicycle as a medium to promote the benefits of cycling as well. “It is very good for health and also for the environment,” he points out. He will conclude his journey in November 2015, and he aims to cover a distance of 20,000 kms by then.