On the face of it, they come across as avid bikers but there is much more to Ajay Chowdhary and Amjad Khan, two young men from Karnataka, who had recently visited Bhubaneswar on their bikes. Armed with an objective to spread awareness regarding “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” campaign, the two have been travelling across the length and breadth of the country on a missionary mode.
My City Links caught up with them to know more about their mission and plans and it was inspiring to know that two have already covered around 13,700 km on their bikes which includes 52 cities, 4 union territories, and 22 states. And, they aren’t done with it yet!
They actually belong to a club named NOPASNA, an organisation promoting adventure sports as well as social awareness on various issues. However, for their mission, the two have received complete support from ‘Round Table India.’ All their expenditure and basic needs have been taken care of by Round Table for the trip.
While they have had different experiences across different states, the two agree that the situation is worse in the interior parts of every state including Odisha. “It is sad to see that people still consider girl child a burden and do not want to educate her. It’s like these places are stuck in old times. For them, the only thing that matters for a girl is early marriage but no education,” the two share.
During their journey, the two have been making an effort to change the mindset of people in villages by interacting with the children, their parents and sarpanch. “What shocked us was the fact that people were totally unaware of the schemes initiated by the government for girls. That is the reason girls from the interiors are not able to progress. We also came across a family who had encouraged their daughter to beg on street even though they weren’t very poor. However, they wanted their little daughter to earn money for herself,” the two recall.
However, despite these bitter experiences, the one thing that has made the duo happy about their trip is the positive response they received from people. “Notwithstanding the discrimination we came across, we felt very relaxed when people were giving us a patient hearing and were ready to change their mindset about a girl child in general. Many of them promised us that they would send their daughters to school and educate them,” they share happily.
On future plans, the two inform that they are trying to include more bike lovers in the campaign to make it bigger and more effective. That apart, they two also want to run an NGO for underprivileged girl children.