At an age when many people want to relax and lead a peaceful life, 81-year-old Bagicha Singh is on a unique mission. He has been walking since the last 23 years and has covered the length and breadth of India more than 21 times. His aim? To spread awareness against tobacco and alcohol consumption, child labour, corruption, and other such social issues.
He has covered over 5,70,000 km till now, and won’t stop as long as he has the strength to serve the nation.
A resident of Panipat, Bagicha Singh started his non-stop journey from Jammu to Kanyakumari on February 22, 1993. After his Class 12 exam, he told his parents that he will never get married because he wants to dedicate his life to the country. He carries a 90 kg backpack with two Indian flags waving on 18 feet long poles.
Throughout his journey, Bagicha Singh met many people including politicians and celebrities. And he has several interesting stories to share:
“On my way from Tezpur to Guwahati in Assam, I had to cross a forest… One has to carry dozens of bananas to cross the forest, as herds of elephants stop their human counterparts and don’t let them go unless they are given their ‘tax’. I carried six kilo bananas, and indulged the elephants. Not far ahead on this journey, I was surrounded by a group of Naga tribesmen…They demanded that I hand over all my belongings…That’s when the elephants came to my rescue! The biggest one among them ran towards the group. The men panicked and fled. The elephant then picked up my bag with its trunk and the whole herd walked with me. Once we reached the road, I was given my bag and the herd walked back in,” he told The Time of India in November 2015, when he was on a break in Hyderabad during his 22nd trip.
After waking up at 5:00 each morning, he walks till 12:00 noon, rests for an hour, and again walks till 7:00 pm. Freedom fighters like Subhash Chandra Bose, Chandra Shekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh inspire this octogenarian, who takes a new route in every trip.