Man on 'pedal mission' for gender equality

Deeply affected and disturbed by the rise in sexual crimes against women and children, this 41-year-old quit his well paying corporate job, to cycle around the country and spread the message of gender equality and freedom.

Rakesh Kumar Singh, a Delhiite, who has already cycled through two States covering 3,200 km, aims to cycle 30,000 km by March 2017. His sole aim is gender sensitisation in a society which has its fair share of misogynists.

Rakesh, sporting a geared cycle, with a myriad coloured flag on the rear of his bike, and the message ‘Ride for gender freedom’, entered Karnataka four days ago from Kerala. He will stay here for nearly two months, and during the period he plans to interact with people from different walks of life.

On Thursday, he spoke at the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), and on Friday he was at the Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Mysore.

His next stop is Bengaluru, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and so on. He hopes to cycle through all the States in India.

Rakesh told the media here on Friday that the spurt in crimes against women was due to the deeply ingrained gender-equations in society.

On March 15, he started to pedal from Chennai in Tamil Nadu. He covered nearly 2,000 km in the State, followed by 1,700 km in Kerala. Rakesh who pedals around 50 to 60 km everday, plans to cover 1,400 km in Karnataka.

The bike with a slate in the front displays the message on gender freedom, while the piggybank on the handle, calls for generous minded people to support the cause, and his daily needs of food and shelter, with their offerings.

“Having worked in the corporate industry as a communication expert, it would have been easy for me to tap funds from publicity hungry companies. But I wanted to involve the common man in the task through their donations,” he adds.

A native of Bihar, Rakesh worked in Delhi for a decade, before calling it quits. He said that it wouldn’t have been possible for him to accomplish the arduous task, without the support of his advocate wife and daughter.

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