Following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi, an Indian activist is walking the path of justice and peace. Rajagopal PV also expects that thousands of people turn up to join his “March for Justice and Peace”. The 9,500-kilometre hike from New Delhi to Geneva in 2019 will set milestones for millions.
The 70-year-old told reporters in Geneva that he is planning to begin his March from New Delhi on October 2 and will probably arrive in the Swiss city on September 20, 2020.
The date of departure is set on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, to pay a tribute to the Father of our Nation. According to Rajagopal, this is to highlight that “India is celebrating in a big way” against a backdrop of an intensification of conflicts around the world.
Rajagopal has put his mind and heart to this long hike, and while he engineers and advocates for the rights of landless peasants in India, he plans to cross through Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey on the way towards the Swiss “city of peace”.
The aim is to draw international attention to the links between a growing number of conflicts around the world and dwindling natural resources.
"If land, forests and water are taken away from the poor people, then that will lead to unrest in the society, that unrest will lead to conflict and that conflict can evolve into large-scale of violence," he said.
"In a world where conflict is increasing, peace is in great demand, so we thought probably we can offer the idea of peace-building to the world at large."
However, the engineers also acknowledge the hardships that will be encountered on his way to the 'peace' city. Some of the challenges that Rajagopal listed were obtaining visas for the walkers to some of the countries in their path, and that they may choose to take a boat from Bombay to Greece, and continue their walk from there.
Often dubbed as the “New Gandhi”, the man feels it rather uncomfortable to adorn this title. He also hoped to get the support from Dalai Lama and former US president Barack Obama for this cause.
He asserted that from now until next October, he plans to travel around the world to seek support from various organisations and cities, in the hope that thousands of walkers from other corners of the globe will also set off on a trek towards Geneva.
Once the walkers reach Geneva, they plan to organise a week of discussions on peace and non-violence in the city.