Menon set out on his peace mission along with his friend, Satish Kumar, on foot in 1963 and for the next three years they passed through different countries spreading the message

At heart everyone is essentially the same – loving, caring and wanting to live in harmony with others. The problem is with the governments which want to confront each other.

That's the truth discovered by E.P. Menon, a Sarvodaya leader, after interacting with people of different countries. Love makes the world go round. In his case it is the desire to promote peace that made him go round the globe.

Mr. Menon set out on his peace mission along with his friend, Satish Kumar, on foot in 1963. For the next three years they passed through different countries spreading the message of peace.

“We should learn to trust each other. That's the first step towards peace,” Mr. Menon said while sharing his experience at an informal meeting organised by COVA here on Thursday. COVA director, Mazhar Husain, welcomed the gathering.

In a touching speech, Mr. Menon recalled how he and his friend went out on world tour without a penny in their pockets, not even passports. When their noble intent came to light government arranged passports for them and delivered at the Attari border.

They were provided 40 food packets by people which they politely refused. “My contention was if the people on the other side of border were humane they would take care of us,” Mr. Menon said.

He was proved right as the moment they stepped into Pakistan, a warm welcome awaited them and the then Pakistan Prime Minister Ayub Khan, provided visas. From there they walked through Afghanistan, Iran and then to England, France, Russia, US and Japan.

“All through our journey it was the people who took care of our needs while the governments readily provided visas,” he said.

Craving for peace

Mr. Menon, who authored the book ‘Footprints on friendly roads', said people everywhere craved for peace and harmony. But government all over earmarked huge budget for defence. India was spending Rs. 40,000 crore on defence. “Where is the need?” he said and pointed out that the priorities ought to be education, health and housing. When he set out on world tour only four countries had nuclear power and now the number had gone to seven. Therefore, there was need to pursue the peace message more vigorously. “Peace will not descend from sky. We have to create it right here,” the 75-year-old Sarvodaya leader remarked.