Day 366 | 12 January 2016 | From Gandhi Bhavan to Green Park | The Walk of Hope 2015-16

  • 32.A-bagpiper-of-the-Assam-Regiment,-Green-Park,-Kanpur,-UP
  • A Walk of Hope memento to the Chief Minister - Green Park
  • Sri Akhilesh Yadav addresses the gathering - Green Park
  • Sri M addressing the massive crowd at Green park
  • A short -skit on "Saving the Girl Child" - Green Park
  • 27.Pigeons-and-balloons,-symbols-of-peace-let-free-to-roam-the-skies,-Green-Park,-Kanpur,-UP
  • Sri M pinning a Walk of Hope badge on the CM's lapel
  • Waving to the cheering crowd at Green Park, Kanpur
  • A discussion in earnest - Green Park
  • Sri Akhilesh Yadav, CM of Uttar Pradesh and Sri M ascend the steps to Green Park
  • 22.(Sir-in-the-midst-of-fairies-and-other-puranic-characters!,-Kanpur,-UP)
  • 20.Probably-the-most-vivacious-group-of-all!,-Kanpur,-UP
  • The padayatra enters the Green Park stadium
  • An aerial view of the yatra that took up half the width of Kanpur roads
  • The all-girl music band in full regalia - Kanpur
  • Cultural performance by students at the venue near Christ Church Kanpur
  • The police band leads the yatra through the crowded streets of Kanpur
  • Sri M does an impromptu jig much to everyone's amusement - Parade Kanpur
  • Sri M laying flowers at the Mahatmaji statue Phulbalgh
  • Sri M releasing scores of colorful balloons as a prelude to the walk at Gandhi Bhavan Kanpur
  • Sri M laying flowers at the Ambedkar statue Kanpur
  • Students performing a patriotic dance Gandhi Bhavan Kanpur
  • Sri M being draped with a tri-color sash at Gandhi Bhavan Kanpur
The starting point on the yatra’s anniversary day was Gandhi Bhavan – formerly Edward Hall –where Europeans during the British Raj used to entertain themselves with dance and music. The huge public function was in the area now called Phulbagh (Victoria Garden) – which is undergoing massive renovation.

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After a warm welcome, Sri M fielded questions from the media as the yatris were felicitated, one by one. A bright patriotic dance program by school children followed. The walk started after the oath was taken. It was a city walk like none other so far. The entire length of the 2.5 kilometre route was replete with banners featuring the Walk of Hope. Loudspeakers blared patriotic songs right through. Along the 2.5 km, 12 stages were set up on which students from various schools performed dances based on the theme of peace. Anticipating a mammoth crowd, the padayatris had done their homework the previous night. They planned a protective cordon of younger men around the older men and women as they walked. To a very large extent, this planning worked, but the crowds surged like torrents from all around the cordon. It was a little sad that, on a few occasions, for want of time, the yatra had to depart without watching the kids complete their performance. Disappointment was writ large on their young faces as the yatra passed them. However, at a couple of the stages, Sri M spent more time watching the performances and even jumped up on the stage to click a few photographs with the children. For many of the yatris, it was a first experience, being part of a march of this kind and size. The state being Uttar Pradesh, the most populous in India and the presence of the young dynamic Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav made it most singular for all of them.

CM of Uttar Pradesh Sri Akhilesh Yadav's Speech | Walk of Hope in Kanpur

Temporarily, confusion broke loose as the crowd reached the gates of the stadium. It was a free for all as the huge crowd tried to get into the stadium. However, due to the good work done by the police, traffic marshals and by the Grace of God, the yatris managed to enter the stadium and reach their allotted seats, suffering little more than a few falls and bruises. The Green Park, very familiar to cricket lovers all over the world including an Australian who was walking with us, bore a different look today. Thousands of people, students and women included, jammed the stands. Giant screens flashed the WOH documentary, the cultural program and the public function. After chanting the shlokas for peace, Sri M thanked the honourable Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav and all the dignitaries and the audience present before starting his address. He said, "I don't want to say much because our Yatra is our message. I would just like to tell you why I'm walking. But before that, let me solve the mystery behind (the name) Sri M. People ask me what sort of a name it is. Sri has been added with respect. I was born into a Muslim family in Tiruvananthapuram, Kerala. We were originally Pathans who had come down four generations ago in service of the Travancore king. When I was born, my parents called me Mumtaz Ali Khan. I was also very fortunate to meet a great Guru belonging to the Nath Sampradaya,whose name was Maheshwarnath Babaji. He had no organisation, no banner, in fact he wouldn't even wear slippers. He initiated me into the Nath Sampradaya and called me Madhukarnath. So that's two Ms so far. The first letter of Mumtaz is M, the first letter in Madhukarnath is also M. But, most importantly, I consider myself a 'Manav', a human being." Sri M spoke about the yatra and said, "We started at Kanyakumari because it’s the sangam or meeting point of three oceans. We thought that since this yatra is to unite people and not to divide, a sangam is the best place to start. Secondly, 12th January is the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda who had done a great deal of work for Manav Ekta, a hundred years ago. Today, on 12th January 2016, we have completed a year of walking. I thank you for such a great welcome. Seeing this, I believe that Uttar Pradesh will become one of the strongest states in future. I say this because people of all faiths have joined the yatra and even the Chief Minister has come at such short notice. This just goes to show that the people of UP know about our yatra and believe in it. The main objective of this yatra is Manav Ekta. You might belong to any religion, culture, political party but never forget that, most importantly, we are human beings. There's no one here who has dropped from the heavens; we have all come from our mothers' wombs and we all go back into earth. In such a short time, between birth and death, why the violence? Why can't we live together happily, in peace? It's to explain this that we've set out on this yatra.” “India has always believed in 'Ekam Sat Viprah Bahuda Vadanti'. The truth is one that the viprah or seers call by different names. When Muslims meet, they greet each other with 'salaam valaikum'. It means, may there be peace. Everywhere we go for Satsang, we say 'Om Shanti Shanti', let there be peace. When the Yehudis meet, they say 'shalom', there's no difference between shalom and salaam. If we understand our respective religion well, then we can live together in peace, because every religion teaches unity and peace. I request all the students here to speak about this everywhere you go – in colleges, schools, homes, neighbourhood (and) communities. I say this because the future is for the youth. That way, our UP Chief Minister is also young. I feel that a lot of creative work can be expected in the future. I want to sow the seeds of unity, peace and harmony in all hearts so it grows into a huge tree one day and we can all sit under its shade.” “Thank you!” “Om Shanti Shanti."

First Anniversary Celebrations - Walk of Hope - City Walk Kanpur

Akhilesh Yadav, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh spoke next; he said, "Whenever someone has set out on a noble mission, we've supported them. I thank Sri M for taking on such a big task of walking from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. There could be no better way to strengthen a country with such diversity than this, to spread the message of love and brotherhood. The message you're walking with is the need of the hour and our country will become stronger because of it. The country will only progress when there's love and brotherhood between people. We'll also have to work together to reduce religious differences. The world is looking towards us. Our population has increased, we're a country of young people with many challenges ahead of us. I wish you success on behalf of everyone from the Samajvadi Party. I thank Sri M and his fellow walkers for letting us be part of this mission."

Sri M's speech at the Walk of Hope 2015-16 felicitation at Kanpur

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