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The Salt Ride: Cycle for the Environment

May 29, 2020

To the best of my memory and knowledge about the Salt March (also known as Dandi March, Salt Satyagraha) is limited only to what I had from my formative school days that Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi) led the Dandi March. However, with time and age I got to know more like how Dandi March proved a major force in Indian Freedom Movement. Starting with a company of 78 highly dedicated volunteers, from Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gandhi-led march was joined by thousands of people over the course and reached Dandi (then known as Navsari) after covering 240 miles (384 km) in 24 days. I always wanted to know more about the epic march, which galvanized our freedom movement, and if possible to retrace the path.

As the saying goes, when you wish for something with all your heart, it comes to you at your doorstep. And when the moment comes, then the whole question is whether you open the door and grab the opportunity or not? So when the opportunity presented itself, then I grabbed it.

In the first week of December 2019, I -- a long distance cycling enthusiast with three 50-km Cyclothon races under my belt and a maiden 100-km ride in little over 4 hours a couple of weeks ago -- was looking a cycling event in Gujarat. And bingo, there I got to know about 'The Salt Ride: Cycle for the Environment' organized by an International NGO with headquarter in London, UK having its India office in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

The 6-day cycle ride (December 17 to 22) was primarily aimed at raising awareness among the people and society about the environmental issues. Besides, helping the underprivileged kids with setting up libraries in their primary schools (if it lacks) is long drawn goal. And the recently opened primary school 'Balvatika' , equipped with playground and library, for the construction workers' kids at GIFT City, Gandhinagar turns out 50th such set up in India.

However, with barely a little over a week’s time in hand, I had to raise a sizeable amount of funds be a part of the Salt Ride team. Raising funds, especially for me, was like asking somebody (who doesn't even know how to swim) to swim across the river after dark.

Hesitantly, I started reaching out to people and made a few calls to them, starting from family and friends to colleagues as well. And to my surprise, with each call, my confidence starting to go north as people started backing my cause and effort. However, I made it a point to bring more and more people on board with my fund-raising efforts as it will help me apprise them of environmental concerns.

In any new begging, first hand always matters the most and my first and foremost support came from none other than by younger sibling working in the National Capital City of India. And in the nick of time, I managed to fundraise the amount needed wherein as many as 33 people came out with generous donations.

Author:
Arvind Kumar, Assistant Professor, Unitedworld School of Liberal Arts and Mass Communication (USLM)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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