Beggar Free India walk reaches Dimapur

Beggar Free India walk reaches Dimapur
Ashish Sharma (Middle holding flag) at Big Bazaar Dimapur on Thursday. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, AUG 18 (NPN) | Publish Date: 8/18/2018 11:42:09 AM IST

Ashish Sharma, a twenty nine year old, hailing from Delhi who used to be a mechanical engineer by profession, reached Dimapur on August 17 evening. He is on a walk across India on the trail of his “Beggar-free India” campaign called ‘Unmukt India’, which began from Jammu to cover a total distance of 17,000 kms on foot. The idea behind his campaign is the elimination of begging and to make India a beggar free nation.

Speaking to Nagaland Post on Saturday, Sharma narrated how one evening while he was returning home from work, he saw a malnourished child with a bleeding hand, begging. Moved by the sight, he took the child home, gave him first aid, some new clothes and got him enrolled in a nearby school. He said that the incident changed his life, which prompted him to pursue this issue. He quit his job in a multinational company in 2015 and embarked on a journey to cover the entire country on foot to create awareness against children begging.

“After doing extensive research, I concluded that the condition was going from bad to worse. The government-run welfare schemes were not reaching those who actually deserved them because of lack of awareness,” he said. 

Sharma said that journeying on foot was not at all an easy task, but his goal to make India a nation free of child begging kept him going. Initially he was rebuked by his parents but now they are proud of him, he said. His father Suresh Sharma, who is working in the agriculture department (in a semi-limited firm) and his mother, a home maker, have been thorough supporters of his mission.

He started his journey from Jammu on August 22, 2017 covering Jammu, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Daman, Silvasa, Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakand, UP, Bihar, Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and now Nagaland.

By Saturday evening, in Dimapur, Ashish had already met various NGOs, gone through the markets and visited two schools.

Sharma said that he has already covered 8,603 kms of his planned 17,000 kms walk. 

He added that he intends to meet the governor and chief minister of Nagaland after he reaches the state capital on Sunday. His next immediate destination is Manipur followed by the other North Eastern states. 

He travels around 30 to 40 km a day and meets thousands of people to make them aware of the welfare schemes that could change an individual’s life.

When asked if he really felt this campaign would eradicate begging, he was clear that it will not - not directly. But this is just the first phase of his mission, and as soon as he completes his mission, he said that him and his supporters are going to organize a rally in New Delhi to spread awareness, and then they will start sending children to schools starting from the villages.

Sharma has even programmed a mobile application named “Duayen” (currently in the testing phase) which connects schools, hospitals, police stations, administrative officials and other government establishments, to help identify lost children and child beggars, to help them reach their homes. He plans to launch the application when he celebrates “Unmukt Diwas.” 

He will be travelling through the North East for 49 days, after which he will leave for West Bengal.

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