I was on my way to Bijapur when I spotted an apparition(!?) on the highway on the outskirts of Gulbarga.
Imagine a colorfully dressed person trundling along the highway with a backpack which seemed as tall as him and two fairly long staffs jutting out of the backpack with Indian flag fluttering joyously. The radio in his palms was blaring some old Hindi songs.
I braked to a halt and took in the spectacle..
Image source : web
As I watched in fascination, he stopped and unburdened himself of the backpack in front of a Highway Dhaba and went in. Here was the chance for me to get to know more about this strange guy. The guy was having tea with the Dhaba owner Rajinder Singh.
I joined them and started chatting with the mystery guy.
Here is what I found:
He is Mr. Bagicha Singh from Patiala, Haryana. He started his journey in 1993 and hasn’t gone home since.
He is 78 years young and his backpack weighs 80 Kilos.
So far he has criss-crossed India 19 times and has covered more than 5,30,000 Kms. He is on his 20th round now.
The causes dear to his heart are:
Fight against female foeticide
Paan and Gutka ban
Girl child education etc.
He visits schools and colleges and helps spread the message by giving a talk on these issues.
He was fascinated by my bike and gear and wanted to get a feel of what it was to ride the machine..
We got along very well and he insisted I stay overnight with him at the Dhaba. I readily agreed. He wanted me to photograph him when he begins his walk the next morning.
In the evening while on a walk I noticed that he was not able to see well and he confessed that his right eye was partially blind.
That touched me and I gave him my Petzl Headlamp as a token of my appreciation for his tremendous will in continuing with his marathon walk despite his age and disabilities.
The next day as he walked out in his splendid attire and heavy gear on to the highway I shot a couple of videos and scores of snaps. He made sure I handed over the camera SD card to him later. Here is a short video of Desh Sevak Bagicha Singh:
Strangely enough I don’t see enough coverage in media or blogs about this superman of India.