At an age when most people take rest and watch TV serials or movies to live a peaceful life at home, this 81-year-old Bagicha Singh stormed into movement like a man on a mission. He has been walking for 26 years and he has walked across the nation more than 23 times.
But why actually is he doing this? What’s his mission exactly? As many citizens in India are addicted to tobacco and are under the influence of alcohol, Bagicha Singh decided to do something extraordinary to spread awareness against tobacco and alcohol consumption. So he decided to walk. So far he has covered nearly 6,00,000 km.
He has already set high standards for himself and wouldn’t stop as long as he has enough strength. Besides this, he has also been spreading awareness against child labour, corruption, and other social issues in the country. He is a proud resident of Panipat and started this campaign (non-stop journey) from Jammu to Kanyakumari on February 22, 1993.
After finishing his Class 12 exam, he told his parents that he will never get married because he wants to dedicate his whole life to the country and to serve the nation with pride. Bagicha carries a 90 kg backpack with 2 Indian flags waving on 18 feet long poles. So far in his journey, Bagicha Singh met many people including politicians and celebrities.
While speaking to TOI, he even shared some interesting stories. “Throughout my journey, I have been meeting chief ministers, governors, police commissioners and film stars. They meet me, take a picture, and move on with their lives. I never asked anything for myself, but why don’t they do something for the country?
Why are our leaders going around the world begging companies to invest in India instead of addressing the issues here? The country here seems to be on a dangerous path while our politicians only care about their next foreign trip.”
“On my way from Tezpur to Guwahati in Assam, I had to cross a forest… One has to carry dozens of bananas to cross the forest, as herds of elephants stop their human counterparts and don’t let them go unless they are given their ‘tax’. I carried six kilo bananas, and indulged the elephants. Not far ahead on this journey, I was surrounded by a group of Naga tribesmen…
They demanded that I hand over all my belongings…That’s when the elephants came to my rescue! The biggest one among them ran towards the group. The men panicked and fled. The elephant then picked up my bag with its trunk and the whole herd walked with me.
Once we reached the road, I was given my bag and the herd walked back in,” he told The Time of India in November 2015, when he was on a break in Hyderabad during his 22nd trip.
How has he been doing this for more than 2 and a half decades? He usually wakes up at 5:00 am in the morning and then he walks till 12:00 noon and takes rests for an hour, and again walks till 7:00 pm.
Bagicha Singh believes that the country’s youth will gradually understand the ill effects of tobacco and alcohol. He also hopes that the country would be free from corruption, child labour and other such social issues.