Felicitation of Sri M and Walk of Hope by Bharatiya VidyaBhavan, Bangalore 21 May 2016 | Khincha Hall, BharatiyaVidyaBhavan, Race Course Road, Bangalore Address by Sri M “I thank you all for felicitating M for this Walk of Hope. Now many of the dignitaries here mentioned that I walked 7500 km, 16 months and so on, which is true in a way, but I want to remind you - I have said this many times before - that we started this walk from Kanyakumari.You know Kanyakumari is called Zero Point. There is no land after that. For us, the land mass ends and the sea begins at Kanyakumari. So, the Highways department calls it Zero Point. I said to all our friends who walked with us – consider yourself absolute Zero and start this walk. Believe me, we did not know how we are going to walk. Well, I have some good friends here. I don’t want to name them again; they run into many numbers, at least, 7-8 of them who formed the core committee that worked so very hard to make this yatra a success. I mean there are others also, but these people worked day and night for two years before we started this yatra. So, why I am saying this is, I walked but the effort was not only mine. All people, including all those who are sitting in front of me who contributed in many ways for the walk, did it. I am not talking about financial contributions. Actually, when we started the walk at Kanyakumari, we had a small budget of about 20-22 lakhs and some people told me you must be out of your mind. They were saying you are mad. How can you walk till Kashmir with this budget? It is not possible but we walked and, as we walked, help came and we kept walking. I personally think, this is the fulfillment of the prophecy by Maheshwarnath Babaji, my dear Guru.” “Many years ago, as a young man we were sitting looking at the Ganga, in Uttar Kashi. He said – ek din tumhe Kanyakumari se Kashmir tak chal napadega. I got frightened. I said,Babaji kyon, why should I walk from Kanyakumari to Kashmir? I am happy to walk with you in the Himalayas – wherever you go, I will go. I will wash the clothes, I will look after you, I will do what you want, but I can’t walk like this. And, his next words were a bombshell, because I - as many of you know - am generally of a retiring temperament. I like ekant. He said, tumahare saath bahut log challenge. I said, Babaji No. I said this is the line you should draw; I cant. Then he asked me - when you first came here, one day I asked you what do you think of yourself in relation to me: apne aapko kya samajhte ho. I said yes. Then what did you say? I said I consider myself as your dog / puppy. You know I was only 21 and I did not know the importance of what I was saying then. So Babaji said, "You said that." He said, kutte to ho sakte ho par duumm jyada mat hilana. He said you may be a dog but don’t shake your tail too much. Then he said don’t shake your tail too much and do as I told you. For years, it didn’t happen and now it happened. So, when people say he did this, he walked, I know they are saying out of love and affection, but I think it is Babaji who walked. Otherwise, I don’t think I could have done it. Impossible. It is not possible.” “Now, when I think of it, I don’t know how we reached Srinagar. Everywhere, there were warnings – oh, people will attack, and there are people who don’t want communal harmony. In some states, the governments were so scared that their commandos were walking along with us. I begged them saying why are these gunmen walking when we are walking for peace, but they said - no it is our responsibility. So the walk went on. I am not going to talk too much, as I said earlier, "My walk is my talk." There was a leader who did terrible things also, but one of the good things she said was ‘kaamjyada bate kum’. So this was the walk and it took us to eleven states in 16 months, 500 days almost. In Kerala, I escaped with Malayalam. In Tamilnadu, I did Tamil. In Karnataka, I got into the problem of not being able to speak in Kannada. So, I started talking in Hindi because people in rural areas said,hindimeinboliye and it went on and on and now I have to brush-up my English a bit. It went on and carried on till Srinagar. I used to start the walk by saying - Namaskaar, bharat jaisa rashtra kahi nahi hai sansaar mein, and go on.” “Actually what I want to tell you is this - the essence: There is no country in the world, which has 26 languages, 150 dialects, so many religions and among them so many sampradayas and yet generally – this is the impression I got, we met more than 15-20 lakh people – we still think we are one. So, that is the uniqueness of the country with so many streams flowing into the ocean of Manav Ekta – we are one. But there are fissures here and there. Things break and you feel sad; your heart breaks when you see people saying I belong to this religion and you belong to that religion, so we are different. So this was a walk, not so much of a cure, but prevention. It was a preventive walk. We said let’s find an inoculation by which at least the future generations are safe. It is the youth who are responsible for the unity and integrity and oneness of this country. It is the youth. We might have committed the mistakes; our hair is gray. Believe me, my hair is gray but I am not old please. If you think that the walk is ended, like Justice Venkatachalaiah said we have to restart the rasagullas.” “When I was sitting here, Mr. Kamath was talking to me and he said so what are you going to do about the follow-up. Before the walk, I went to see Mr. Hamid Ansari, the Vice President. He asked me the same thing before the walk started. He said after the walk, what will you do to follow it up? So, believe me friends, the walk has not ended. The walk has just begun. After another one and half years to two years, we will probably walk into the Northeast. Before the walk we went to meet Dr. Kalam, a wonderful man. I have witnesses who came with me. Balaji was there with me and Dr Kalam said, you have left out the Northeast. I said, Sir yes - because this walk is already going to take us 16 months. If we go to the Northeast and if the walk becomes longer, probably I might get a divorce notice from my wife. Well I didn’t say that. But now, this walk is over. The next walk will certainly begin. This was from K to K - Kanyakumari to Kashmir and I am convinced that it did have some effects. At least, we have sown the seeds of harmony. Now the seeds that have been sown have to be nurtured. That nurturing is not in my hands, it is in your hands. So we wish to meet you at some point and discuss how to further this.” “I am not interested in saying that ManavEkta mission or Satsang Foundation is doing it. Not required. See the idea is, between people who are doing good work there should be no competition. If there is a competition like that, then nothing works. Then,it’s just a competition. Akshara Foundation is doing work; why can’t we join them and help them out? Why should we say that this should be done only by us?? This is also division. So I am saying, lets put our heads together; you may be having your own little ways of working this out and see how to bring about a change to follow up this walk. And, the next walk will probably be…. All our coordinators (they are smiling many of them), they know how hard they worked. Balaji is hiding behind. This was K to K, Kanyakumari to Kashmir. The next one would be from Madanapalle to Mizoram in the northeast. Dr. Kalam said, if you go to the Northeast, I would also come with you. Unfortunately, he is no more and it is very interesting that he passed away in the Northeast. At least thinking about this, we should not give up this walk. I am saying this because some people are a little worried. Apart from that, we are going to call all the coordinators together, have a brain storming session and decide how in local areas others can do the walk. There is a small communal problem coming, go out and walk.” “I am telling you, Anita is sitting there. She has been doing a lot of work in the rural area. She walks, she talks. This should spread as a movement in your own group and anytime you think there is a danger of the persons who are doing it getting murdered, I will come. I will come with you wherever you want me to come. There are a few schemes that we want to workout. We will try and work it out soon. I especially thank every one of you and all our coordinators. Special thanks to Dr. Venkataramana, who got us an ambulance, medicines, drivers, and staff from the BGS Global Hospital – right from Kanyakumari to Kashmir. And, all who helped us and who did not walk with us, couldn’t walk with us, but with your minds encouraged us on to this walk, I thank you all.” “Before I conclude, I want to tell you how this walk became a success and how I at the age of 68 was able to walk. You might say that I was born in 1949, believe me my mind is as young as the youngest of you here. This is mainly because I bear no enmity towards anybody. It is also because I practiced Yoga from the age of 10 and I have continued it till today, even today morning. Dr. Pandav came to the hotel in Kathmandu to wake me up at 6. I was already up and had finished my Yoga. So, I am again saying please practice Yoga, and control your diet. Don’t take things, which are not good for you. I don’t want to specify. What I mean is don’t fill your tummy and make it like a barrel. Be kind to people. Kindness and having no enmity towards others actually increases your strength and energy. So we walked, all of us. This walk of hope - I think we did it; all of you did it. Everybody did it. Everyone, who has joined for the walk, is responsible. Not this person. Well, I might have ignited it. That’s okay. Ignition comes through many sources including Bosch. So, I don’t want to say anything more. Thank you very much. I did not expect that so many people would come and felicitate me. I just walked.” “Thank you very much. Namaskar, Sat Sri Akal, Salaam.
Siddaramaiah Chief Minister Government Of Karnataka The city of gardens is proud to present the “Manavashree” Award to Mumtaz Ali—popularly known as Sri M—who has successfully completed the Walk Of Hope 2015-16. Walk of Hope is a 7500 km padayatra organized by the Manav Ekta Mission from Kanyakumari to Kashmir - covering 11 states of the Indian Subcontinent over 474 days. The Founder of Manav Ekta Mission, Sri M, started the padayatra for peace and communal harmony from Zero Point in Kanyakumar, Tamilnadu on the 12 January 2015 and concluded it in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir on 29 April 2016. Couple of months back, two events reported in the media influenced my mind. In the first event, a wild bear which wandered from the forest into the human settlement area was brutally killed by people with sticks and sickles and whatever they could lay their hands on. It was an incident in which men behaved like animals. In the second event, a thirsty elephant was quenching its thirst on the banks of a lake situated in Chamarajanagar forest area. A tiger, also thirsty, came and drank water next to the elephant and retreated quietly after it finished drinking. In this instance, animals refrained from behaving like animals. Which of these two incidents depict intolerance? It is a beautiful example clearly depicting who follows the rules of tolerance. Why is the level of humanity depleting in humans? The time when one human used to look at another as human is gently easing its way out. In this background, Sri M is affectionately beckoning to all of us—to understand and return to the ocean of love intrinsic to humankind. The need for such a visionary is a must for humanity. We all know that walking is excellent for our physical health. Sri M has proved that this is also the best endeavour to protect community health. We offer him our humblest salutations and wish him all the very best. Bangalore 20-05-2016