Armed to the teeth security cover during the walk - Fatehpur
WOH Day 361 Aung to Sarsaul on the Grand Trunk Road
Sri M points to the poster echoing the sentiments of the Walk of Hope -Sikhadia
DM Kanpur Sri Kaushal Raj Sharma welcomes Sri M to Kanpur
Unprecedented support as the padaytra enters Kanpur
Sri Kaushal Raj Sharma DM Kanpur addresses the gathering - Sikhadia
Sri M addresses the gathering at Sikhadia
Jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police too join the yatra - Kanpur
Warm welcome by the school children of Kanpur
Crowds throng Mauryapuri end-point of the walk of the day
Welcome to Sri M at Sarsaul Kanpur UP
Sri M addresses the students of Shivnath Shivdas maurya Inter-College Sarsaul
The reception as the yatra entered Kanpur after crossing the Pandav river was stunning. It seemed as if the village of Sikhadia Purva had transformed into a garden! A massive crowd comprising students, women, children, Jawans of the Indo- Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) police personnel, leaders of all religions of Kanpur, top Govt functionaries, Anganvadi workers and university students gave a rousing welcome to the padayatris. Sri M was garlanded scores of times.
The neatly dressed ITBP orchestra sitting with their vintage instruments and music sheets played a few lovely tunes. What followed was a welcome song and a dance performance by school students on the theme of inter-religious harmony which captivated all. Sri M jumped off the stage like a child himself to get a quick photo with the kids. He heartily thanked everyone for the wonderful welcome accorded to the yatra. Explaining the mantra he had chanted as he started his speech he said, "I started by chanting ‘Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha’, that's also the objective of our walk. Also ‘Loka Samasta Sukhinoh Bhavantu’, that people all over the world live happily. For this we'll have to stop violence. Gandhi ji tried a lot. Even today the state in India is such that we forget we are human beings, Indians and that we're one. I haven't come with anything new. But sometimes we forget this. Our objective is to ensure this is never forgotten, because prevention is better than cure." Sri M added that his padayatra itself is his message which is why he didn't want to speak much, saying so he ended his short but precise talk. Tea and a variety of snacks were served at the end of the grand program.
The remainder of the yatra today was inspiring to say the least. Hundreds of school children lined up a half of NH 2 which was blocked for the smooth passage of the yatra. Children enthusiastically shouted slogans, waved flags, held hand painted placards on the message of Unity and generally enjoyed themselves in spite of having waited for hours for the walk to arrive. The lengthy program at Sikhadia pushed the 17 km walk well past normal ending time. The walk finally wound up at Shivnath Shivdas Maurya Inter. College, Mauryapuri, Sarsaul with another public function. This function also was well attended and sincerely organized. Sri M thanked the Add. District Magistrate of Kanpur and all the other dignitaries present for the wonderful welcome. On the topic of the need for peace he said, "Sometimes what happens is a small flame sparks into a big fire that cannot be doused even with water. I don't believe this happens because of religion because I've studied all religions and none of them encourage people to fight and beat each other up. This fight isn't about religion. This only happens in the name of religion. If you look at it closely you'll see that it's either because of politics or some vested interest."
Speaking further about the yatra he said, "We've been walking from Kanyakumari and (have) gone into small towns and villages. Everywhere we go, people tell us they want peace and harmony. But they don't speak up. They prefer to keep quiet. The aim of our walk is to talk to people about it and maintain peace harmony and oneness in one's home, neighbourhood and community."
Finally before closing he said, "We've gone to many places on this yatra, Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP and to many places in UP, but the welcome we received today is the best yet. I thank you for such a welcome and believe that if you're welcoming us like this it means you understand our message. If you understand it, we aren't worried anymore because it means our yatra will surely be a success."
The catering staff of Axis College very kindly waited for the yatris and ensured that everyone had their lunch though it meant waiting till 3.30 pm.