Seeing the frail frame of Bahu Saheb, one would hardly believe that he has cycled tens of thousands of kilometres over the last 17 years.
What drives him to do so is his passionate belief that female infanticide and dowry harassment are a blot on our society and we need to send a strong message against them to every corner of the country.
Mr. Saheb, who is right now cycling all over south India to spread awareness on these social evils, reached Bangalore last fortnight. The cyclist, who has his roots in Hasanabad, a village in Maharashtra, has in fact been on such campaigns since he was in class 12.
“A majority of Indians are educated about these social evils, but someone has to inspire them to be strong enough not to allow themselves to be drawn into them. If they demand dowry, all they have to do is to firmly refuse to pay,” he says.
His campaign began with his sister's marriage, when his parents succumbed to the pressures of the dowry system. “I want to feel proud that I am born in this country. I do feel happy when I see the worship of goddesses alongside gods, but in reality, hardly anyone respects women. I am disgusted with this hypocrisy.”
Catching 'em young
He makes it a point to meet a minimum of a hundred people every day.
“I prefer to address school and college students, but not many teachers are willing to give up classes to make it happen,” is his grouse.
Mr. Saheb hopes to meet Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa.
He also wants to meet Governor H.R. Bhardwaj while he is in Bangalore, before proceeding to Kanyakumari via Mysore and Coimbatore.