Age no bar in Kanyakumari to Kashmir walk of hope

Age no bar in Kanyakumari to Kashmir walk of hope

He was called to video-document just the Kerala-leg of Sri M’s Kanyakumari to Kashmir “walkathon”, but the journey’s spirit made young videographer Sijo George step outside his home state.

The 20-year-old youth has now walked around 5,000 km with Sri M, a spiritual leader and educationist, and 70 others with a hope to engage people in the pursuit of peace and harmony, as “The Walk of Hope” is entering Delhi on Wednesday.

Sijo said: “the Kerala-leg was interesting. It was for a good cause. I could not leave the group.”  

If Sijo is the youngest, 80-year-old retired Commodore G Ravindranath is the oldest and they have another 1,500 km to cover to reach Srinagar by May.

The 16-month walkathon titled “The Walk of Hope” aims to erase disparities arising from a “misunderstanding of our diverse culture and religions, thus uniting the humanity of India through a spiritual approach”.

As the padayatra completes around 5,000 km when it reaches Delhi, according to his close aides, Sri M and 70 other volunteers, who started their journey on January 12, 2015, were joined by around 1.5-2 lakh people in the walk at various stages.

Four Chief Ministers—Oommen Chandy (Kerala), Siddaramaiah (Karnataka), Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra) and Akhilesh Yadav (Uttar Pradesh)—have walked with Sri M, while Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal will join him in the Delhi leg.

“It has been a big learning experience. Several people joined us. It showed us the need for engaging public in different spheres of life,” Sri M, born Mumtaz Ali Khan who travelled to Himalayas at the age of 19 years, told Deccan Herald during the padayatra in Haryana’s Gurgaon. Sri M heads the Manav Ekta Mission and Satsang Foundation.

The “padayatra” also made the group aware of the caste fault lines and issues. “We witnessed the distress among farmers. Small farmers are the most affected,” he observed. He also called for dialogue between political leadership and various sections of society. 

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