VISAKHAPATNAM: A 25-year-old man from Maharashtra has trekked for 76 days, from one coast of the Arabian Sea to another of the Bay of Bengal, to stress the need for plastic ban and water conservation, and sensitise people about farmers’ suicides.
Asutosh Joshi from Ratnagiri began his walk on April 10 from Narvan Beach in his home district and covered 1,850 km in four states—Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh—before finally ending his expedition at Visakhapatnam on Saturday.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, Joshi said he wanted to document his experience of meeting people from different cultures and terrains to understand their varied lifestyles. He said Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Baba Amte inspired him.
Before entering the red corridor in Chhattisgarh, he met police officials there and conveyed to them that he’d continue his journey despite the risk from insurgents. He crossed the River Indravati on a boat to enter the Maoist-afflicted areas. Though he did not encounter any insurgent, he was attacked by a bear. He kept on walking as he did not suffer any major injury.
“I was earlier supposed to end my expedition in Puri. However, on the advice of Prakash Amte (a renowned social worker), I decided to come to Visakhapatnam. I received unwavering support of my family and neighbours as the entire village saw me off when I started the walk on April 10 on Ram Navami,” Joshi said.
He said he has been working on a project related to water conservation, emerging technologies and their side-effects, and farmers’ suicides. “The walk helped me understand India from close quarters. It is a completely different India from what I knew. There is extreme poverty and people are living in pitiable conditions. Lots need to be done by governments.”
Pushing and pulling throughout the way a 45-kg bag on a trolley, Asutosh received some aid from his friends and people he knows for his journey. The remaining expenses were borne by him. After touching the coasts of two different seas, he was inclined to get back home.
Joshi entered Andhra from Saluru, and reached Vizag via Ramabhadrapuram, Vizianagaram and Padmanabham. “Despite India being home to multitudes of cultures, what binds us all is the Indian way of life.”
He added he faced problem in communicating with people in Odisha and Andhra as most of them do not understand Marathi, English or Hindi. “However, I could understand their feelings when I met people in meetings arranged by sarpanches and village heads to discuss the need for plastic ban and water conservation.”
‘Survived bear attack in Chhattisgarh’
Asutosh pursued his higher education in England and later worked in Spain, Scotland and the UK. He survived a bear attack in Chhattisgarh. He said he wanted to document his experience of meeting people from different cultures and terrains