HYDERABAD: They are on a mission. And, it is nothing less than building an honest nation. A group of Proud Indians, who have embarked upon an epic journey of over 5,400 km from the Vivekananda Rock in Kanyakumari on Dec 18 last year, arrived in Hyderabad on Sunday on their way to New Delhi. The youngsters from the city, who hope to promote personal honesty among the people during their padayatra, were joined by hundreds of others during their walk from the People’s Plaza on the Necklace Road.
“We set out on this journey, following the ideals set by Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, and recognising the importance of youth participation in nation building,” says a cheerful Abdul Mujeeb Khan, who leads the team and runs BHUMI, an NGO working on leadership building among slum-dwellers.
As if answering the cynics, he adds,” whether this initiative to walk and talk to people across the country will change the nation is a million dollar question. But it will definitely have an impact on the walkers (participants).” Led by Khan and Vivek Reddy, a freelance soft skills trainer by profession, the Proud Indians shared their experiences thus far with a whole host of others who converged on the Necklace Road to extend support to them. Interestingly, the Proud Indians have decided to survive on `32 a day __ something that the Planning Commission had said was enough for every Indian to live.
Asked about this, Khan explains, “even when we were having just 2 meals a day, we could not cut down our individual expenses to `32. We failed miserably just like millions of our fellow Indians.” The other members of this group Proud Indians are Umair Hasan, Madhav Rao, Zia Ali, Faiz Rai, Jawad Ali and Anoop Shekhar. Jawad Ali, a budding filmmaker, along with counterpart Faiz Rai, is the team member in charge of documenting the whole journey.
How was their experience walking from Kanyakumari to Hyderabad? They were detained twice by the police on suspicion of being some anti-social elements. “We slept at petrol pumps, ate food at the cheapest hotels, faced language barriers and talked to thousands of people to spread our message. The journey ahead is going to be more challenging as we are going to face the north Indian winter,” says Faiz.