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Cyclist's crusade against dowry, foeticide

B. Madhu Gopal
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On a mission: Cyclist Bhausaheb Bhawar, who is on an India tour, in Visakhapatnam on Monday. — Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam
On a mission: Cyclist Bhausaheb Bhawar, who is on an India tour, in Visakhapatnam on Monday. — Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

He has been cycling for nearly two decades across the length and breadth of the country with the mission to promote national integration and communal harmony besides educating people on social evils like dowry eradication and female foeticide. The wanderlust is not yet tired of his arduous journeys and says he would continue his crusade against these social evils, which are hindering the progress of the nation.

Meet, Bhausaheb Bhawar, of Hasnabad village of Jalna district in Maharashtra, who is doing his fourth tour across the country. He reached here a few days ago and was meeting people spreading his message. He did three cross-country tours between 1993 and 2006 and set out on his fourth on January 1, 2007, from Mumbai.

Bhawar had launched his mission 18 years ago after his family had to pay a huge sum as dowry to get his sister married. “I want to change the mindset of people. Dowry Prohibition Act by itself doesn't deter the people from receiving and giving dowry. Women should stand up for their right,” he told The Hindu on Monday.

“I travel about 50 km a day and meet around 100 people on an average creating awareness among them against dowry and female foeticide and the importance of national integration. I sleep at temples or depend on the local people for help,” he says.

Referring to the acute shortage of girls in Punjab, the people of Orissa and West Bengal shouldn't give their girls in marriage to boys from Punjab as the latter were aborting the girl child. This was the reason for the sharp decline in the sex ratio in Punjab.

Bhawar is excited on coming to know of Municipal Commissioner B. Ramanjaneyulu's cycling to his office for one day in a week, as an energy conservation measure, through the newspapers. He feels the officials of oil companies should take up such measures and save oil instead of religiously observing ‘oil conservation week' once a year and forgetting about the issue.

Bhawar, who hasn't made any marriage plans yet, says he plans to set out on a world tour after completing his current tour.

He also plans to write a book on his travels at the end of his mission.


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