Srinagar, Aug 30: Bhausaheb Bhawar, a 50-year-old cyclist on an expedition to Srinagar, met Maj Gen PBS Lamba, GOC 31 Sub Area and addressed the students of Army Public School.
Hailing from a small place Hasnabad in Jalna district, Bhawar told army officials that his only aim is to educate people on social evils. “It has been approx. three decades that I am cycling across the length and breadth of the country with my mission- eradicating social evils like dowry, foeticide and to spreading message of national integration and communal harmony. I also talk to youths on drug addiction, cleanliness, corruption and eating habits. I have no home, no mobile number and no bank account. Wherever my cycle stops that is my residence for that day,” he said about the mission and himself while talking to Maj Gen PBS Lamba, GOC 31 Sub Area.
Quoting Bhawar, PRO Defence in Srinagar said that he was 16 when his elder sister and his family suffered due to dowry harassment from her in-laws. “Our parents gave her gifts for wedding. But her in-laws started harassing her demanding more dowry,” Bhawar said adding that it was a traumatic experience for the family back then. Realizing that awareness was the key to end the social evil, he started cycling from 1993. According to Bhausaheb, dowry was the reason for female foeticide as parents were afraid of getting their daughters married and put them through the sufferings. During his expeditions, he also holds awareness programmes in educational institutions.
Bhausaheb Bhawar does not carry money or a mobile phone, but pedals 50 to 60 kms a day from as early as 4 am, sleeps in Churches, Temples, Gurudwaras or Mosques, is vegetarian and ensures that a major part of his diet is liquid. He carries a foldable chair to rest and is travelling on his bicycle. The man has documents weighing over 30 kgs such as photographs he took with important personalities and newspaper clippings in various languages on his expedition. Unlike most awareness drives from Kashmir to Kanyakumari that start and end on one national highway, he has pedalled to every district.
His first three expeditions were continuous from 1993 to 2006. He did not have time to think of getting married and to even attend his father Vithal Rao Bhawar’s funeral. “I would have lost several days of the mission had I gone for the funeral,” he said. He talks to his mother Kala Bai over phone once in a while.
When asked about his job and what he does to survive, Bhawar said, “It is HIS (the almighty) duty to take care of me. If you have a pure heart and a conscious mind, you will always get good people around you who’ll take care of your requirements,” he got philosophical.
The cyclist is never in a hurry and has never been involved in any untoward incident since he took his first ride in 1993. During his recent visit to Srinagar, he addressed the students of Army public school and motivated them to become good citizens, stay away from social evils such as drugs and adopt healthy life style.